When we found out we were expecting our Joy girl, Paul was finishing his degree at Auburn University. He accepted an offer for a job in Fort Worth, TX and we planned to move after he graduated in May 2020. Parvana was due the first week of June and we knew we would be arriving in Texas near her birth, but figured we would have a few weeks to get ready for her. At her anatomy scan and subsequent ultrasounds, we were told that she had some markers for Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13, but we declined further testing to receive an official diagnosis before birth.
- May 15th — We had our final sonogram in Auburn, AL. We received the all clear to move to Fort Worth and we loaded up the U-Haul.
- May 16th — We made the long 12-hour drive to Texas, stopping frequently for the very pregnant mama.
- May 17th — Our incredible family worked all day to unpack and make our new apartment into a home.
- May 18th — At 12pm we had an appointment with a new Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist and were told we should consider inducing delivery because the longer we waited, the less likely we would meet Parvana alive. We were admitted to the hospital at 7pm to attempt an induction overnight.
- May 19th — Our beautiful baby girl was born via emergency c-section at 3:49pm after telling us that she didn’t like labor.
When Parvana was three days old, we received the official diagnosis that she did have full Trisomy 18 which came with a large ventricular septal defect in her heart, bronchomalacia, and underdeveloped portions of her brain. Praise God for surrounding us with gracious doctors who valued her and helped us make the best choices for her and for our family.
Around the time of receiving her diagnosis, a friend back home in Alabama told us to connect with a group based in Dallas that helps families cherish their babies’ lives in the face of life-limiting diagnoses. We reached out and got to chat with some members of the Abel Speaks team and immediately felt loved and supported by them.
After 38 days in the NICU at both Baylor Scott and White All Saints and then Cook Children’s Medical Center, we finally got to come home. We give both hospitals a lot of credit in giving us our girl and helping us bring her home. She came home with extra oxygen/air support and more equipment than we ever imagined a baby needing.
During Parvana’s time at home with us, we took advantage of every opportunity to be outside with her and affectionately called her our “cyborg baby” because she was so battery powered 🙂 She reminded us to go and live without fear and soak up every day we’re given to enjoy God’s creation, and it was important to us to give her as many experiences as we could while we were able. Parvana got to go disc-golfing, dunk her feet in the pool, worship with us at church, and even go to the Alliance Air Show!
Parvana lived for 5 months and 26 days. Her name means “butterfly” or “seeker of light” in Farsi, and she lived up to her name. God used her to teach us how to seek the Light in every circumstance. Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the Light and the only way to the Father is through Him. Parvana showed us Jesus everyday of her life — from the way she wiggled and moved before she was born all the way through to her last day on this Earth when she wanted to be with her family before going Home.
Having people to who have walked this road come alongside us and just be there with us was really, really big. The staff of Abel Speaks and the other parents we’ve met through them have never been afraid to ask questions and talk about Parvana. We enjoy talking about our daughter. Getting connected to others that have that context, being able to listen to their stories and be able to share our story, it’s been really helpful and beneficial for us.
Our names are Paul and Michaela Last and we are the parents of Parvana Joy Last. Being her parents is the greatest privilege we have ever received. Parvana Joy was here, and by faith, she still speaks.
Paul & Michaela Last, in memory of Parvana Joy