Sierra Strangfeld and husband Lee were ecstatic when they first learned that a new baby was on the way. Already blessed with a daughter, now 19-month-old Porter, their unborn baby boy would make the family complete.
However, at 25 weeks into her pregnancy, the baby was diagnosed to have Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that affects about 1 in every 6,000 live births. It broke their heart that their baby, who was to be named Samuel, had this rare condition.
“Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome, is a condition which is caused by an error in cell division, known as meiotic disjunction. When this happens, instead of the normal pair, an extra chromosome 18 results (a triple) in the developing baby and disrupts the normal pattern of development in significant ways that can be life-threatening, even before birth,” reads the description in the Trisomy18.org page.
After doing their research and realizing that the mortality rate among those with Trisomy 18 is high, the Strangfelds made a decision for Sierra to undergo a C-section at 30 weeks.
“When they told me he would more than likely pass, I asked for a C-section that day in order to see him alive,” Strangfeld told Fox News.
According to the same website, only 50% of babies with Trisomy 18 who are carried to term will be born alive, and that baby girls have higher rates of live birth than baby boys. Furthermore, only 10% of those who survive at birth will live past their first birthdays.
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Samuel was born on September 5, 2019 at 5:54 pm and passed away three hours later.
But that was not to be the end of baby Samuel’s story. Though he has passed on, his story lives just as his mother promised.
Now with a supply of breastmilk but with no baby to feed, Sierra began pumping her liquid gold.
“I pumped for 63 days after his birth. I am not an over supplier by any means- but I did it.“And today, his due date, I donated my milk to the NICU milk banks for the first and last time,” reads Sierra’s Facebook post on November 13, the day Samuel should have been born.
“I couldn’t save Samuel’s life, but maybe I could save another baby’s life.
“Walking through the hallways of the hospital was just another step in healing. And I know, (because I felt him), that Samuel was there with me.”