Some women are born to be mothers. Ami Jo is one of those women. She and her husband tried for a long time, but nothing happened. So, she took fertility treatment.
She got more than she bargained for. Triplets.
It was pure excitement. The baby showers. The tears. The back pain, the mood-swings. Eating for four.
At seventeen weeks, doctors found a heart defect in one of the triplets.
“I was devastated,” says Ami Jo. “They suggested we terminate the baby, so the others weren’t at risk.”
It was a blow. But Ami Jo didn’t even have to think on it.
“I wasn’t about to,” she goes on. “My husband and I agreed to put our faith in something greater.”
Thus, one summer day, at Jacksonville Baptist Hospital, she birthed three babies. Two healthy infants, and one miraculous William Walter Gibson—who screamed loudest.
“We named him Will, after my father,” she says. “And, because it’d be God’s WILL if he lived.”
At three pounds eleven ounces, he was ‘God’s Will.’ But he wasn’t well. He had his first open-heart surgery at nine-weeks. Then another.
Within five months of infancy, he endured four open-hearts. He practically lived at the hospital.
“Watching him go through this,” says Ami Jo. “Him nearly dying on several occasions, it’s just been…”
Ten years went by. The family adapted to Will’s routine. An operation here, a heart cath there.
He got older, started school. Will grew into a normal boy—with the boyish odors and dirty fingernails to go with it. He learned to play a mean drum-kit. Likes swimming.
Last August, during an outpatient procedure, Will’s heart stopped. It was unexpected. Doctors compressed his chest for six minutes. His heart started again. Then quit. Oxygen debt. Seizures. Flailing. More CPR.
“Next time I saw my baby, he was on a ventilator, medically paralyzed, maybe even brain dead.”
ICU was hell—living on prayers and text messages. But that was the easy part. Then came the hard news:
Doctors said Will would need a heart transplant. They put him on “the list.”
And now he waits.
Even so, Will is a locomotive. He powers ahead with big smiles. Sometimes, he’s so energetic that Ami Jo forgets he’s even sick. He is one tough sailor.
Will’s friends haven’t exactly been sitting on their hands, either. They have been drumming up more support than you can shake a cardiac catheter at.
A Tallahassee barbershop cuts hair for donations. Some friends hold a garage sale. A cattle company throws a shindig. Will’s cousin sets up a lemonade stand at the Bonifay rodeo parade. Heart problems aren’t cheap.
“Difficult as this journey’s been,” says Ami Jo. “We’re just living each twenty-four hours as it comes. Please pray for Will.”
Anyway, maybe you wonder why I’m telling you about Will today.
This is Good Friday. And the fella who started this holiday would want it this way.