Richmond ‘Miracle Baby’ Harper dies overnight

Posted at 9:33 PM, Oct 07, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)–Harper Ann Stanfield, six-weeks old, was a fighter, one of the reasons she was called “Miracle baby,” by doctors, and by CBS 6 when we reported on her story more than two weeks ago.

Sadly, Harper Ann Stanfield passed away overnight. She was born with a rare condition known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, or CDH. 

The message of her passing was sent to thousands who rallied for Harper on Facebook.

“Tonight heaven gained a beautiful angel, I love you Harper, you taught me what love is, goodnight sweet pea, daddy and mommy love you…,” it read, and it provoked tens of hundreds of heavy-heart responses.

“Our angel has her wings and is flying high, and we appreciate everyone that has been at her side,” said her parent William and Erin, in a statement to CBS 6.

They learned of their daughter’s condition during Erin’s pregnancy.

CDH occurs in 1 in every 2500 pregnancies, and 50% of babies born with it do not survive. 

An X-ray taken after Harper Ann’s birth on August 20 confirmed the diagnosis.

The baby’s stomach, spleen, intestines and part of her bowel were all up in her chest and the organs were constricting her lung function and development.  

Her parents were told the only chance for their daughter’s survival was surgery.

While the first surgery to move Harper Ann’s organs was successful, the baby began losing a lot of blood. Two subsequent surgeries to stop the bleeding were unsuccessful, and doctors told the family that a fourth surgery could be fatal.

“At that point I felt like, would her last moments be with us or on an operating table?,” her dad said.

Both parents decided to take the leap of faith and told doctors to proceed with the surgery.

Miraculously, Harper Ann pulled through, surprising surgeons.

After her surgery, Harper would remain hooked up to a respirator and an ECMO machine that acts as a heart and lungs to oxygenate the blood

Doctors warned that recovery would take years.