A SHORT LIFE FULL OF MEANING

We found out that we were surprisingly expecting baby number three a week before Christmas. What a wonderful Christmas present! We couldn't wait to share the news with family and friends. Everything was going wonderfully, and I was having such an easy pregnancy. We went in excited and anxious at our 20-week ultrasound to hear if we would have another boy or if we would be having our first daughter.

Before we even found out the baby’s gender, we were told something was wrong. In the weeks that followed, we found out that our beautiful daughter, Claire, had a terminal diagnosis. The doctors at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital told us that she had alobar holoprosencephaly, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and some severe face anomalies.


TREASURING CLAIRE

Our hearts were breaking, and at times, I didn't know how I was going to go on. It was through prayer and the support of my husband, family, and friends that I knew I could get through this. No matter what, Claire is my daughter and I was going to give her life for as long as God would allow me to.

My husband and I began this journey with a mindset that we would treasure the time we had with our daughter no matter how short her life would be. Even though she wouldn't be with us for long, her life still had purpose and meaning. I took comfort in the fact that she was cozy and comfortable inside me. She kicked me with a feistiness that no doubt would have blossomed into a spunk that would have given her big brothers a run for their money.

I carried Claire for 37 weeks and five days. She defied the odds—most of the doctors did not expect her to make it that long.


BORN OUR ANGEL

Claire Catherine Schoonover was born into the Lord's loving arms the afternoon of August 2nd, 2016. Even though the grief we feel for our daughter is overwhelming at times, we take comfort in knowing that she didn't suffer at all. She weighed an incredible 6 lbs 11 oz and was 19 inches long. She surprised us with a head of beautiful, thick, black curly hair. Although she was born our Angel, we soaked up the time we spent with her and studied all of her features that made her unique and beautiful.

Tears flow freely for our daughter, and we miss her more than words can express. Our arms ache to hold Claire again, but our hearts are full of the love we have for her and each other. Claire's life was short, but incredibly meaningful.

Love one another fiercely every day. I know God gave us Claire as a reminder of this. Claire was and always will be so loved! Until we see you again, sweet baby.