You are, you are a Miracle
Our dear Fulton Joseph Hood was delivered on April 2, 2021 at 12:50 am. Fulton’s eyes were closed. He looked so perfect and peaceful.
Open to the public: A funeral service will be held at St. Jude in Dunlap, Illinois on Saturday, April 10th at 11 am CST. All wishing to attend are invited. We will also have a livestream link for anyone unable to come. Additional details to be posted later this week.
Some of you may have just recently learned about Fulton while some have been following our story for months. All of you have been joining with us in prayer. This has truly been a journey of faith, hope and love. We are so grateful to have shared this journey with each of you.
As many of you know, Fulton was due to be born on March 31, 2021. However on March 31, with Elise not experiencing any changes associated with labor, an ultrasound was conducted. It was determined from the ultrasound that Fulton’s heart was no longer beating. After crying and praying we determined to go home to be together with all of our children. Together as a family we cried, we prayed and we smiled thinking about all of the joy and blessings that Fulton has brought us.
On April 1, 2021, we would go to OSF for labor to be induced. There were numerous delays on April 1. Our plan was to go in at 9 am to get the process started early. However it wasn’t until around 4 pm that a bed became available. There were so many emotions on that day. From moments of grief, to sadness to disbelieve. It was frustrating waiting and waiting. But as we focused on the physical journey we also were mindful of the spiritual journey. After all, this was Holy Week. And we were so thankful to God for giving us every extra moment possible with Fulton. During the entire pregnancy Elise and I were determined to make sure Fulton would be surrounded with as much love and joy as possible. The end of his life would be different. Respecting the dignity of the human person, God’s creation, requires love and joy. Of course we grief but we do so mindfully and in thanksgiving of the time we cherished.
Once the labor began it was probably around 9 pm. The Doctor and medical team suggested that delivery might begin anywhere from 6 to 24 hours. It was suggested that we try to rest. We prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet and said a number of other prayers. Elise had a table setup next to her hospital bed with prayer cards and some really cool relics (a number of which had been sent to us by people who read about Fulton).
We each dozed off sometime around 11:30 pm. Next around 12:30 am Elise woke me and said “Royce I think you need to call the nurse.” I was half-asleep and started pressing the little button on her hospital bed (it turns out I was pressing some bed control button and not the button to call the nurse). A moment later Elise said “Fulton was coming!” I jumped up and hit the call button located on the wall. Our nurse came right in. It wasn’t a minute or two later when Fulton was delivered without any real pain or issue. He just sort of arrived as if he had been carried forth with grace and by the hands of angels.
Fulton was delivered at 12:50 am on April 2. Elise had prayed, that if it was God’s will, there might be some connection with Fulton’s delivery and Good Friday. Prayers answered! Fulton weighed just 2lbs-14.4 ounces. He was 12.5 inches long. Fulton had the cutest little nose and chubby little cheeks. He was so precious. The nurses swaddled his little body and laid him on Elise’s chest. We held our little boy, cried and prayed. We will share a few pictures of Fulton in the near future.
Shortly after Fulton was born Father Henehan, the pastor from our church, St. Jude Parish in Dunlap, Illinois, came to pray and speak with us. It must have been around 1:30 am in the morning. His words, his blessing and his compassion were exactly what Elise and I needed in that moment. God has a plan. Fulton’s life has already had such an incredible impact on countless people. We pray his life and our story can lift up others and demonstrate the power of God’s love. And I must add that we have been so blessed with such as wonderful faith-community. After Father left Elise and I contemplated what would happen next.
It was clear by Fulton’s skin tone that he had been gone for a number of days. A few medical professionals suggested that Fulton might have been passed away about a week earlier. This is where my brain went into overdrive. “A week!” I thought. How could Fulton have been gone a week? After all, it was almost exactly one-week earlier when we captured our only 3D ultrasound of Fulton (at 39 weeks).
Throughout Elise’s pregnancy, with low to no amniotic fluid, it was difficult to obtain high quality ultrasound imaging. But the 39-week ultrasound was incredible and for some reason higher resolution than the prior ultrasounds. This is also the ultrasound when we had captured the most astonishing image I have ever seen. An image appears next to Fulton that to us clearly resembles Our Lady of Grace. The image from the 39-week ultrasound also resembles the picture of Our Lady of Grace that is on Elise’s rosary. The very same rosary Elise sleeps with every night and that she held over Fulton during the course of her pregnancy.
Reflecting on the promises of the Rosary I think it’s logical that the 39-week ultrasound screenshot was meant as a little grace. We are confident Fulton had a special escort on his way to Heaven.
After Fulton was delivered we took turns holding him. The staff at OSF was incredibly kind and helpful. Elise and I had planned for Fulton to be born alive. We planned to baptize him. We planned to dress him. We had hoped for a miracle with his complete healing. We also planned to make as many memories as possible while we comforted and held our little boy. We didn’t end up with the miracle we wanted but we did get the miracle that we needed. Fulton went from the womb to the arms of the Lord. The nurses helped us to make a little clay cast from his feet. We also were able to obtain beautiful little footprints of our baby boy.
Our children and family came to meet Fulton around 8 am on April 2. Elise and I debated wether we should allow our children to even come at all. Fulton’s skin-tone continued to change minute after minute. However, we made the decision to wrap Fulton’s body and expose only a small section of his face for our kids to see. Our children, Fulton’s siblings have been with Elise and I every step of the way. From learning at 20 weeks that their brother had challenges to learning just 2 days earlier that their brother had gone to Heaven. We felt it was important, particularly for our oldest children, to have closure and to say hello and goodbye to their brother.
When the children arrived I spoke with the oldest ones in the hallway outside of Elise’s room. I wanted to prepare them that this baby would look different than the other babies they have seen. They handled it like pros. We cried together, hugged and then the most incredible thing happened. Ava (7), Gabriel (6) and Augustine (4) all smiled at their brother Fulton. Leo (3) and Royce Aaron (1) were a bit too young to understand what it was all about. But we managed to capture a few pictures (thanks to Elise’s sisters). Elise’s parents and siblings were also able to join us. It was truly a beautiful time to be together as a family.
After the visit with family ended it became more and more apparent that the time we had with Fulton was coming to an end. Our photographer from the organization Lay Me Down to Sleep arrived and took a few pictures for us. Afterwards Elise and I hugged, cried and decided it was time to let him go.
Letting go of Fulton’s body was the hardest thing either one of us have never done. Both of us were so exhausted from not sleeping more than few minutes over the past few days. We also wanted to respect the dignity of Fulton’s body. Still, letting go of Fulton was nearly impossible. Relying on our love, each other and on our faith we called the nurse to say it was time to let him go.
We are certain that Fulton is in good hands in his Heavenly home. But there was something so unnatural about watching his little body being carted away. However our pain is nothing compared to the pain our Lord suffered for all of us on the cross. Further, we reflect on how Mary must have suffered watching her son die on the cross and how she did so in complete and humble submission to God’s will. So to have Elise and I submitted to God’s will during this journey.
The sorrow we felt during this Holy Week was in fact an opportunity for immense grace. You see, we are confident in the greatest promise and greatest gift of all time which is the Resurrection. While we mourn the loss of a son we give thanks for the time we had with Fulton. He was a miracle. To be clear there are still moments when we are overwhelmed with grief, questions about “what-if” and sadness. But love and joy conquer all negative feelings. For every moment that we struggle we find peace in our faith. I cannot stress enough how much prayer, fasting, and love have helped us through this journey. We thank you for your prayers.
Fulton Sheen pray for us.
Fulton Joseph pray for us.
Our Lady of Grace intercede for us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Thank you for sharing your heart-felt story. You were in our prayers thru holy week and continuing thru this time of grief.
Fulton’s life has touched so many people and what a gift his short life was to our community and the nation at large. His life brought people to greater prayer and union with Christ…the greatest hope we have for God’s people. As a family, you have given inspiration to walk close to our Lord, accepting the cross given and trusting in His Divine Providence with overflowing love. Thank you.
My deepest condolences to your sweet baby angel in heaven. May your family have peace.
With all our hearts we pray for your family. Conceived in love and born into the Savior’s arms. Fulton has sparked love across the world.
Your faith is an inspiration! I pray your grief will become overshadowed and healed by knowing that Fulton is now resting peacefully in the arms of the Blessed Mother and Our Lord! I will continue to pray for your family – that you are given all the graces you need to cope with the loss of your dear baby Fulton.
May our Lord Jesus comfort you both and your family. Fulton was bright into being for a reason, a reason that you may not be avle to see now. I pray that the God of all mercies will bless and comfort you
He has already received and welcomed Fulton. May his soul and all the.souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
Dear St Joseph, wrap your loving arms around this beautiful family and ask Jesus and Mary to comfort them. Amen
Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this incredible journey. May you find moments of consolation and love through the Holy Spirit, especially at each mass when heaven comes to earth and Fulton can escort you to the reception of the Holy Eucharist.
May Elise find great comfort in knowing that Fulton’s living cells remain in her body for the rest of her life through a process called Fetal Michrochimerism. ❤️
Continued love and prayers.
Thank you for following and being with us on this journey!
our heartfelt love and prayers to all of you. i am overwhelmed with your courage and faith. having your children at your bedside with Fulton is such a tremendous witness of faith and love that your children will carry all of their lives. Acknowledging the unborn and new born is such a lesson they will always share. Their lesson of faith will expand to so many others. Only our loving God knows how your pain will not be in vain but will impact so many through you and your children. God bless you and thank you for sharing your journey. all of our love and prayers.
Our courage is the result of faith. But also everyone who has sent us love and prayed with us has truly lifted us up. So we thank you for your faith!
I just read of your journey and your beautiful son Fulton in the Catholic Virginian. I am saddened to hear of his passing and inspired by your grace and faith. Sending you all much love.
A beautiful story of a family’s celebration of God’s gift and the ability to return that gift to God with great love and thanksgiving! Great blessings to you all this Easter Season!
My love and prayers ( an English Franciscan) following Fulton’s sacred journey. As a couple and indeed a family, your are totally amazing and Grace filled. Thankyou for preaching the Gospel to me… and a whole lot of others too.
Love and prayers. John Michael ofm.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. Fulton brought us closer to our faith than we ever imagined possible. God has a plan!
I just read your story in the Pilot and was so moved by your faith. Fulton was born into a loving, faith filled family and is now your guardian angel. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for the kind words. Please feel free to share a link to where the story is. God bless!
May Fulton now protect your family as your guardian angel and thank you for sharing your grace filled journey. May Fulton Joseph rest in Mother Mary’s arms.
Beautiful words – thank you!
Just read your story in the Catholic Virginian. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. After reading I prayed for your family and Fulton, then I saw this site listed and read about delivery and Fulton’s death or should I say birth. Please take comfort in knowing where he is and whom he is with. Blessings Always
Thank you for your love and prayers!
I became aware of your story about a month ago and read the article in our Catholic Virginian newspaper this evening. You were blessed with Fulton Joseph arriving on Good Friday. We all prayed for a miracle and I believe God gave you a miracle. God and all the angels and saints in heaven were with your family every moment of this journey. May God continue to bless your family.
Even from the womb we have only to look and see how little Fulton Joseph has touched so many lives and increased our faith. I pray that everyone will see the gift from God that a child is. May He wrap you in his Love and Peace. Thank you for sharing this miracle and your family with us. Peace, Love and Prayers.
Thank you and God bless you for sharing your cross and your journey. Our daughter and son in law just went thru this same path almost a year ago. They are Catholics and prayed and did acts of penance for little Gianna. Many people , to which our family is indebted ,fast ,prayed , and sacrificed . You acquire many spiritual friends when a crisis like this comes to your threshold .it’s then that you know God really is carrying your cross and His mother is there and Simon and Veronica and John all helping with that caring, loving support. All the people who were there for us are represented by those friends of the cross.What a faith we have been given . The path was not easy , you never get over it but by grace you get thru it. This has I believed helped my daughter and son in law. God gives special people special crosses and I believe both your family and my daughters family are those very chosen ones.God must love you immensely for sharing in the carrying of His cross . I can only think how happy they are to be in with Him and they will be our advocates in Heaven ,they want that joy for us so you will find they go beyond measure to help you out . I know I lost a son at seventeen and he is there for our family all the time. I just ask him to help this one or watch out for another traveling , etc. he never lets us down . He’s like an invisible man but I know he’s there. So talk to Fulton he never will leave you …just waiting for your arrival home forever. God bless, you are on my humble prayer list.
Beautiful. Thank you for sharing and for your comment. Most especially we appreciate the prayers!
Sometimes God creates a soul so perfect, he keeps it. God told Jeremiah “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5
May God comfort you and Our lady protect you.
Heaven gave you a precious comforting miracle to see Our Blessed Mother in the sonagram and know She and his Guardian Angel escortied him to.Heaven. 🥰
Grateful to have been able to pray with you all during the past few months. God breathed His life into Fulton for the time He had planned from the beginning. You called on Him to guide you and accepted His Will. As difficult as it can be sometimes to accept God’s Will, in time, He always brings the greatest blessings. We continue to unite in prayer for you and await to see the plans God has for His ’little missionary’ to intercede from Heaven. God bless and console you.
I just got the Cath. Virginian and read about you and your beautiful family. It’s rare here to see families with more than 2 or 3 children. I immediately visited your web site to find pictures of Fulton only to read about his untimely death. It has been many years since I cried but I shed many tears for all of you. What an amazing and blessed family you are. The evening before my son-in-law died from cancer at 48, he looked at my daughter and said, I’m going to die” He was euphoric. He spoke with each of his 3 children and me and told us how much he loved us! What beautiful last words that he gave us! You were like Tom in that you are full of love which shows all thru your story. What an amazing gift you have all been given!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story about Tom. I hope his 3 children found strength in his faith and in his love! God bless you!
Royce, This brought tears of grace to my eyes. And as the saying goes, without tears in the eyes there can be no rainbow for the soul. Fulton has touched many lives through your beautiful family. He has left a rainbow of peace and hope as his legacy of grace. May he rest in peace.