Remembrance

Remembering Alayna

Alayna Joan Naber.png

Jessica & Derek’s Story

We found out Alayna’s organs and spine were not developing properly at 9 weeks pregnant. The doctor told us to prepare for a miscarriage at any point, and that if she did survive through the pregnancy, she would likely not make it through the surgeries and early days. I carried her until 32 weeks, when I went into labor. She was delivered via c-section at the children’s hospital, and was alert and moving (both things the doctors said would not happen). We had our priest there during the surgery, and Alayna was baptized in the midst of the chaos of the delivery room. It was so beautiful! Two nurses later told our priest they wanted to go back to church because of how powerful that moment had been.

Alayna was taken into surgery, but within a few hours after she was born, it was apparent her lungs and other organs were not going to be able to sustain life. She lived for six hours, and my husband and I held her for the last hour of her life until she went to heaven. We held her, told her we loved her so much, and watched her heart monitor slowly tick from 150 beats per minute down to 0. It was in the middle of the night when I was transferred back to the adult hospital, with me carrying her in the ambulance while the rain streamed down the windows like tears. In the morning, one of the doctors who had performed the delivery came to tell us that she was so impacted by what happened (our faith and choice to give her every chance to survive) that she would never treat a high-risk baby the same–that she would be willing to give them a real chance.

Our friends and family supported us the next two months, with 200 people attending the funeral for our beautiful baby girl. Early on, we realized her sign is a yellow butterfly, which God frequently uses to show that He loves us and that she is still with us. God is so faithful.

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