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Heather Skagen describes the time leading up to her daughter’s birth, the “perfect pregnancy.”
Shortly after Aura’s birth, her tiny heart stopped beating and her lungs failed to expand. Her brain was deprived of oxygen, leaving her with severe organ damage.
Aura was placed on a ventilator to help her breath and her body was cooled using hypothermia treatment in an attempt to heal internal organ damage. But the brain damage was too severe.
Over the next nine days, Heather and her husband, Ryan, watched other parents visiting their sick children at Cook Children’s and felt the strong urge to give the precious gift of life to other parents by donating their daughter’s organs.
“If we couldn’t take our baby home, we wanted to know that our daughter could help someone have the chance to take theirs home,” Heather said. Physicians at Cook Children’s were able to recover Aura’s heart valves, bone marrow, ligaments, tendons and cartilage, which was donated to six people.
“At only 9 days old, Aura did more than some people ever get to do,” Heather said. “Six people are going to be able to live better lives, because of our daughter.”
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