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Finding Peace & Purpose - Heart Hero Angel Jasper

Heart Hero Angel of the Month - April 2020

Our dearest Jasper Lee Arland was born at 34.5 weeks on February 5, 2020, at 9:41 am. He weighed 5 lbs 15 oz and measured 16.4 inches. After a battle with his breathing, on February 6, 2020, at 4:04 pm, he died peacefully in his mummy’s arms with his daddy holding his hand, and his grandmothers and wonderful care team close by. A chaplain said prayers that captured our whole heart for Jasper in life and death. A beautiful rainbow shone over Richmond on the morning of February 7, 2020, and was shared with us by several friends. We call it Jasper’s Rainbow, and we will look for him in the colors of every rainbow we see from now on.

After 3.5 years of fertility treatment, our prayers were finally answered. We had crossed so many mountains to get pregnant that it was difficult to put faith before fear and finally start to believe we’d have our happily ever after with our son. And then our next mountain emerged. Jasper was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (CHD) in our 20-week anatomy scan – double outlet right ventricle (DORV) with ventricular septum defect (VSD). When we finally started to get comfortable with the picture of his life as a heart warrior, Jasper developed bilateral pleural effusion at 27 weeks (cause unknown). For the last 8 weeks in utero, our doctors monitored him closely to try to find the right balance of his growth/development and his lung health. We are so thankful for the care Jasper received from the perinatal team at MCV and the cardiology and NICU teams of MCV / Children’s Hospital of Richmond (CHoR). Their compassion from the day we walked into the hospital, to the day he was born, to the day he died, and all the days after have been a great comfort to us.

We planned to decorate Jasper’s nursery with elephants, because they symbolize strength, love, family, overcoming obstacles and all the things that represent our journey to being his parents. Elephants also embody all the things we could tell Jasper already was. He was such a brave little fighter. We pray that our heart angel is at peace and play in heaven. Jasper means bringer of treasures, and he is our greatest treasure. We are so thankful for every day and moment with him. There is so much sadness in thinking of all the moments we won’t get with him. We will miss him our whole lives. We just hope to someday find peace and purpose in it.

Bringing awareness to CHD, which affects 1 in 100 births, is important to us especially since Jasper was born in heart month. The harsh reality that too many babies still die from complications related to CHD was a fact we turned our heads away from. Until it was us. It will be a long fight, but we would like to help spare other parents from going through what we did.

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