• Right to Life

What Do You Do With a Gift?

“If God offered you a gift but you could only keep it for a little while, would you take it?”

For Mike and Jess Witous, the answer is a resounding yes.

When they conceived their second child last year, Mike and Jess knew there was a chance they would only have their baby for a little while.

The couple has a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia. Their children have a 25% chance of having a terminal form of that condition, where typically babies live for hours to a couple of days.

They opted to not undergo genetic testing. The results didn’t matter. They were going to give their baby a shot no matter what.

Their little girl was born with the fatal condition, known as Double Dominance dwarfism. They named her Margot (a form of Margaret) which means “pearl” or “rare”. They only learned later that St. Margaret of Costello is not only the patron saint of the pro-life movement and those with disabilities, but she also had a form of dwarfism.

Margot miraculously lived for two and a half months. Her life may save many more lives in the future because doctors were able to study her. Because termination of such children is so frequent, there is very little research available.

The team at St. Joseph Health System gave Margot unparalleled care. They never pressured the couple to terminate and they fought hard for Margot’s health.

Msgr. Schooler of St. Pius was able to baptize and confirm the little girl in the NICU despite the pandemic.

Mike and Jess brought Margot home from the hospital for the last three weeks of her life.

“Margot taught us a lot,” Jess says. “She was a fighter. She taught us that we are not in control, and to appreciate the little things.”

Mike and Jess hope Margot’s story encourages other couples facing difficult prenatal diagnoses to choose life.

“I can’t imagine not getting to hold Margot,” Jess says. “Or kiss her. Or tell her I loved her.” The couple agrees choosing life made it easier for them both to heal. It gave them closure.

“Why make life and death decisions for your children when you can choose life?” Mike says.

If you or someone you know have received a similar prenatal diagnosis, there is life-affirming support available in our community. Reach out to Lisa Everett at leverett@diocesefwsb.org for more information on Miriam’s Blessing Ministry.

“She was a gift,” Jess summarizes. “It was gift to have her.” We’re so grateful our world had the precious gift of Margot for even a little while.

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Right to Life Michiana works to protect life from conception to natural death. In support of this mission, we encourage all pro-lifers to learn about the current pro-life legislation, call their state