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Greer’s Legacy of Love

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Greer’s Legacy of Love

By Chloe Dean

At the New Life Birth Center at AdventHealth Avista, the pinnacle of our work is helping to bring new life into the world. It is truly a privilege to be there for the highs and lows of each delivery. Our hope, prayer and goal is for every baby to be born happy and healthy. However, the unfortunate reality is that some situations result in tragic outcomes.

The Brown family is far too familiar with this reality, as they experienced the heartbreaking loss of their daughter, Greer, shortly after her delivery. They are honoring Greer’s life with thoughtful and impactful gifts they have generously donated to our birth center.

Greer’s dad, Ken, shares their story:

In the summer of 2021, shortly after a routine 20-week ultrasound, we received the devastating news that our baby had a fatal anomaly called Holoprosencephaly. An additional in-depth ultrasound confirmed that the type of Holoprosencephaly that our baby had was the most severe, and that our baby would likely die in utero or shortly after birth. Our pregnancy quickly went from experiencing the joy of adding a third child to our family to immensely grieving the loss of a baby who was still very much alive at the time. We were given the choice of terminating the pregnancy or carrying to term, and we knew that although this was not the path we would have chosen for our family, we were not going to be the ones to determine the number of our baby's days.

Shortly after receiving the diagnosis, we learned that our baby was a girl (the first after two healthy boys). We named her Greer and continued waiting for her birth, knowing it would be both our hello and goodbye. We initially planned to deliver at a local birth center, but following the diagnosis, we risked out of the birth center and transferred care to a local medical group that delivers at AdventhHealth Avista. Greer was born at 32 weeks gestation with a head full of dark brown hair and tiny hands and feet. She was with us for about 20 minutes before leaving the arms of her earthly father and returning to her Heavenly father. The staff at AdventHealth Avista helped our family make sweet memories with her, including pictures and keepsakes that we will forever cherish. Though her time on earth was short, we want her legacy to have a lasting impact.

While meeting Greer at Avista, our boys were given teddy bears donated by a family in memory of their sweet boy. We chose to do the same in honor of Greer's first birthday by donating stuffed bunnies. For her second birthday, we wanted to create a "Library of Love" with books to be given to families experiencing infant loss or a NICU stay.

Books are such a powerful way for parents to connect with their children. We wanted families experiencing loss to have the opportunity to read to their baby and to have the book as a keepsake from their time with their little one. Families with infants in the NICU are likely under a great deal of stress. We want parents to be able to read to their babies, which could positively impact their infant's language development and the parent-infant relationship. It also gives them something tangible to do and say, amid the uncertainty and difficulty of their child's situation.

We asked our family and friends to partner with us to create the library, and we are committed to replenishing it on an ongoing basis. We chose a variety of different books - some sentimental and some lighter and more rhythmic. We hope that each family that wants a book finds one that connects with them where they are and provides a special memory for them with their child.

We are grateful to the Brown family for sharing Greer’s story and for their kindness in giving these meaningful gifts to our NICU families. While Greer’s time on Earth was short, her legacy will live on through the special moments our NICU families have through these beautiful books.

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