Last year, on the day before Christmas Eve, Johanna Morton went in to get an ultrasound, expecting happy news. Instead, she was told that her baby was very sick, and that she was probably going to lose her, The Telegraph reports.
But recently, 5-month-old Clara Ray saw snow for the first time.
“This is her seeing her first snow fall. She absolutely loved it,” Morton wrote in a post shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page. “I can’t explain the emotions we felt, as we watched that smile come across her face. Pure. Joy.”
Morton told The Daily Mail that watching Clara Ray’s adorable reaction to the snow made her emotional. “I had a flash back to the countless ultrasound apps and being told she was not going to survive over and over again. It was December 23rd, the day before Christmas Eve, when I was first told something was wrong with her heart. I still dreamed and I dreamed of her playing in the snow, watching the Christmas lights and so much more. I was pretty much told she would not see Christmas 2016.
“The whole pregnancy and even now, I sing that song ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ and I will always sing that song to her. I prayed to God for a Christmas miracle, and I got one!”
“I was told she will not survive. ‘You will miscarry’”
Morton was 12 weeks gestation when she was told that her baby’s heart wasn’t functioning normally.
Heartbroken, Morton left the clinic in tears, but her baby was a fighter. Though her heartbeat continued to slow, she made it to 18 weeks gestation. However, each new appointment came with a new heartbreaking diagnosis.
On the next page: more on Clara Ray’s amazing journey.
“I was told ‘She’s going to be stillborn, save yourself the pain'”
Doctors had little hope for her baby, and the leading children’s hospital in her area hadn’t seen a heart as bad as hers.
“It was up to her to fight,” Morton wrote. “The only thing we could do was pray.”
Even though the odds were against their baby’s survival, the Mortons continued to celebrate her life. They had a reveal party, a baby shower, and prepared her nursery for her.
And their baby continued to fight. With a heart rate of 40-50, their baby fought her way to 37 weeks, and was delivered via C-section on June 14.
They named her Clara Ray
Photo: Prayers for Clara Ray/Facebook
“We went back and forth between Claire and Clara,” Morton explained to Babble. “Clara, meaning bright or clear, seemed to fit more because if she lived or not, she was and is the brightest light in our life. ‘Ray’ is in honor of Craig’s father. He’s a great man of God and we both look up to him. We wanted her to carry on a legacy.”
Clara Ray has been in and out of the hospital since she was born. She had her first open-heart surgery when she was just 6 days old, and has been in the hospital 5 times since then. But she continues to fight.
Morton hopes that her story will encourage parents in similar situations to keep their hopes up. And it has struck a cord with many—as of this writing, the post has over 115,000 reactions, and has been shared over 6,000 times. Plenty of moms of kids with congenital heart disease have also shared their own experiences.
“Miracles happen,” Morton told The Daily Mail. “Doctors don’t always know and now that Clara Ray is here, I often wonder how many babies really could have survived… if only they didn’t listen to the doctors!”
Follow Clara Ray’s journey on the Prayers for Clara Ray Facebook page.
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