The birth of a baby brings with it great joy and celebration, but for mum Haley Parke, it was also a time of sorrow and enormous emotional strength.
Because just as her second son entered the world, she was forced to bid farewell to her husband Jb, who died of cancer the very same day.
Already parents to 18-month-old Brinton, Haley and Jb were expecting their second child in three weeks time. However, due to complications from his cancer, Jb was admitted to hospital – only to be told his six-month prognosis was suddenly a matter of days.
The couple made the decision to induce the baby early so Jb had the chance to meet his son.
“I knew asking for an induction was the right thing to do,” Haley wrote in a message on their Go Fund Me page. “Without hesitation, the team of ICU doctors communicated with the head of high risk labor and delivery doctors. They offered me an induction as soon as I was ready.
“I kissed my sweet husband goodbye and told him to be strong and hold on for me and the baby – he said he would.”
The plan for a quick birth was thwarted when Jb started to rapidly decline. The only thing Haley could do was to have a c-section and give birth immediately. “It was either a C-section right at that moment, or Jb would not have the opportunity to meet our son,” she said. “Without a question in my mind, I said, ‘Let’s go’ and we did just that.”
Haley was in the operating room in a flash, and 20 minutes later, their son arrived. “He was given to me for a quick kiss, and then a team of doctors and nurses ran him up 2 floors, and he was placed on his daddy’s chest.”
As a parent you never forget that magical moment when your child is finally placed in on your chest, skin against skin. And for Jb it was nothing short of miraculous. “When our baby was placed on Jb’s chest, Jb’s vitals all instantly improved,” says Haley. “He was also acknowledging our son was there by making small head movements and sweet moans.”
When she was ready, Hayey was wheeled into husband’s room: “I spent my recovery time gazing at my husband. I was gazing at him in sadness, but in awe of his strength.”
It was here that Jb took his final breath, his baby on his chest and hand in hand with his wife.
When a baby arrives three weeks early, there can be a risk of complications, but Haley and Jb’s son was perfect, weighing approximately 3.3kg, measuring 50.8cm long and displaying fully developed lungs. “From the OR to the ICU room, there were what felt like hundreds of doctors and nurses floating us through this process effortlessly,” Haley recalled. “Not one of them having a dry eye the entire time.”
The staff praised Haley for her bravery and selflessness, but she says there was no choice but to do what she did. “Some called my actions brave and heroic,” she said. “I just call it love. I acted out of love.”
Up until the induction, the couple had not yet considered a name. But after the birth there was only one option that felt right – John Beeson (Jb) in honour of her husband.
“Welcome to the world baby Jb,” the mother wrote to the world. “Your story is truly a miracle.”
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