Parents: Rebekah and Kenny Brooks
Hometown: Concord, North Carolina
Carried to term, lived a few minutes
Harper Lauren’s Story
During an ultrasound in my 19th week of pregnancy the doctor found some abnormalities suspicious for a chromosome disorder (the baby was small, there was extra amniotic fluid, a possible heart defect, a cystic hygroma, and choroid plexus cysts on the brain). We elected to have an amniocentesis and the results came back positive for Trisomy 18. Trisomy 18 is a terminal chromosome abnormality considered “not compatible with life”. Termination of the pregnancy was an option; however, my husband and I have a strong faith in God and we chose to continue the pregnancy. We felt that this little life had a purpose and we hoped and prayed for the best possible outcome. We read that some children live weeks, months, and even years with this same diagnosis, so our hope and prayer was to get time (the precious gift of time) with our little girl, Harper.
At a follow-up ultrasound in my 25th week of pregnancy, Harper was small but still growing. It appeared she might have a diaphragmatic hernia (which allows the organs from the abdomen to enter into the lung space) and impedes her ability to swallow causing additional amniotic fluid to build up in the uterus. The good news was that the cystic hygroma and choroid plexus cysts were no longer visible. Also, it did not appear that she had some of the other common characteristics for this diagnosis (clenched fists, rocker bottom feet, cleft lip).
Needless to say, the additional amniotic fluid caused some problems. It tricked my body into thinking the pregnancy was further along than it really was and we had to make some trips to the hospital. Our goal was to make it as close to our due date as possible (September 24th) to give Harper the best possible chance. However, the doctors felt that pre-term labor was highly likely.
In my 33rd week of pregnancy, we had another ultrasound. She was still small (3 lbs. 10 oz.) but continued to have a good, strong heartbeat throughout the whole pregnancy (135-150 bpm). Unfortunately, we didn’t get the news we had been hoping and praying for. The ultrasound showed that the diaphragmatic hernia was severe. The doctor informed us that the hernia in conjunction with the heart defect would likely make Harper’s time very short.
Then, during my 34th week of pregnancy, I developed a kidney stone and spent 4 nights in the hospital.
This has been an emotional roller coaster and a very hard journey (to say the least), but my husband and I made the decision from the beginning that we were going to make the most out of every minute and enjoy every bit of time with our little girl that God would allow. We enjoyed feeling her every tiny movement, talking to her, kissing her through my belly, reading to her every night, her ultrasound pictures, and watching her hide her face during the ultrasounds. We have continued to place our faith in God, knowing that this is in His hands and we have no control. Harper is His child and, as hard as it is, we realize that He may need her more than we do. Our only job has been to love her unconditionally, which is exactly what we have done.
On the morning of Saturday, August 30th at 36 weeks + 3 days, my water broke. It was time to meet our precious daughter. After arriving at the hospital and confirming Harper’s breech position, I was prepped for surgery. Harper was delivered by C-section at 2:21pm. She weighed 4 lbs. 5 oz. and was 18 inches long. She was placed on my chest and peacefully took her last tiny breaths at 2:45pm.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)
Daddy please don`t look so sad,
Mommy please don`t cry.
I am in the arms of Jesus
and He sings me lullabies.
Please do not try to question God,
don`t think He is unkind.
Don`t think He sent me to you and that
He changed His mind.
You see, I am special
and I`m needed up above.
I`m the special child you gave Him,
the product of your love.
I`ll always be there with you.
So watch the sky at night.
Find the brightest star that`s gleaming.
That`s my halo`s brilliant light.
So Daddy please don`t look so sad.
Mommy please don`t cry.
I am in the arms of Jesus.
And He sings me lullabies.