Parents of ‘Miracle Baby’ Harper speak about gift she left behind

Posted at 9:26 PM, Oct 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-09 21:26:10-04

Public memorial planned for ‘Miracle Baby’ Harper

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 early Sunday morning. She was born with a rare condition known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, or CDH.

The message of her passing was sent to millions who rallied for Harper Ann on Facebook; even visiting Facebook from countries internationally to send their hopes and prayers.

“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. When they spoke with CBS 6 they were strong, their hearts were open.

“Her miracle was giving hope and blessings to many people,” William Stanfield, her father, said.
“I’m a mom, no one can ever take that from me,” Erin Byer said. “She’s going to go be with people who love her.”
The couple cradled baby Harper Ann for the first time, just last week. It wasn’t long after that that Harper’s kidneys and organs began to fail. Her parents had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to their little angel.
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 remained hooked up to a respirator and an ECMO machine that acts as a heart and lungs to oxygenate the blood

The family had not expected the sudden shift in her recovery. They are thankful for the outpouring of support , and said that it is helping them cope with the loss of their only child.