WHEN this mum met her baby daughter for the first time, she knew her time with her would be tragically short-lived.

Stefanie Wahl has explained why she made the heartbreaking decision to see her pregnancy through to full term – despite knowing daughter Samantha Rose might only live for a matter of minutes.

“Simply, we were not going to be the cause of our daughter’s death,” the 27-year-old told Mirror Online, of her decision not to have an abortion.

“I was happy to hang onto my little girl for as long as she was happy to be with us. It’s the least I could do, as her mother.”

Samantha was born with the rare Patau’s syndrome, a genetic disorder and chromosomal abnormality.


Her parents were overjoyed to meet their “lovely” daughter, but the day was also tinged with sadness.

Patau’s can cause facial defects, abnormalities such as extra fingers and toes and, in the worst cases, result in organs growing outside of the body.

Nine out of 10 children born with Patau’s, which is also known as Trisomy 3, die within their first year.

While parents Stefanie and Adam, from Alberta, Canada, were told not to expect Samantha to ever take her first breath.

The couple, who are also parents to Leontine, two, first found out about Samantha’s condition at their 20-week scan.

“When we found out it was likely trisomy 13,” Stefanie said, “I was floored. That was worse than worst case scenario for me.”

They were offered a termination, but never considered it, and named their baby immediately after finding out they were expecting a little girl at their second ultrasound scan.

Although some babies with Patau’s syndrome have their lives prolonged with heart surgery, the couple were told early on that Samantha would not be operated on – because she only had “half a heart”.

The mum described the early birth as “heartbreaking”, because the parents thought they had at least another month with Samantha.

After a five-hour labour, the infant was delivered. Adam and Stefanie had braced themselves to have just minutes with their daughter but, in the end, they had a full three days.

Stefanie described it as: “The three most stressful and difficult days of our lives, but the sweetest as well. I would do those three days over again a hundred times.

“We so cherished our time with her, I would give a limb to go back and hold her for just a few more minutes, smell her, kiss her soft cheeks one more time.”

“Every life is significant, no matter how difficult or short,” she added.

“She was very much our daughter, and though we didn’t get to keep her very long, she’s left a hole in our family.”

Stefanie insists meeting Samantha was worth the “heartache”, while opportunities to talk about her experiences help to keep her memory fresh.

This post originally appeared on The Sun.

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  • Omgosh, what an amazing story. Those three days would have been so hard but I agree would have been worth it no matter what. Xxx


  • It would have to be one of the hardest decisions you would have to make.
    They are fortunate Leontine didn’t have the same tragic problem.


  • Such a sad story to read.


  • A heartbreaking story and a very touching one too.


  • I would absolutely have done the same thing. Even a few minutes with your child would be precious.


  • The 1st of November this year will be 34 years since my oldest daughter Sarah entered this world. Ultra sound had shown she would not survive long and was told to abort her. As far as I was concern she was a living child and it was her decision to decide when she wanted to come into this world. I had 30 mins with her before having to give her back and go home to my toddler son. I will never forget her and was glad I was able to hold her. It is up to the parents and if we want to carry a child and our health is not in danger we should be allowed to do so.


  • Such an emotional time. I’m glad that they had at least 3 days with their daughter. It would have been very difficult for them to say goodbye but they gave her a chance. Very brave Mother. Cherish the memory of your beautiful girl. Condolences to you and your family. RIP Samantha


  • Oh goodness her comments about the 3 days and her willingness to lose a limb even just for a few more moments really touched me. Extremely sad.


  • I can totally understand her decision.


  • I would have done exactly the same. Big love to them xx


  • Aw bless, very hard ! But I can totally imagine you don’t want in anyway choose death above life of your own child even when it has many defects. Besides that I think carrying the child full term gives also the much needed time to grieve and give it a place.


  • No one really knows what they would do in the same situation until you find yourself there.
    Love to your family


  • Hard decision to make, but fully understandable. RIP little one.


  • A beautiful insight to this tragedy, I can understand their decision


  • I think I would do the same. At least you can spend some time with your baby even if it’s very short.


  • So heartbreaking..but its good you have spent some time with your little angle. Great moments to capture.


  • I think I would do the same. Even for only three minutes with my child. But I completely understand anyone making a decision to terminate too.


  • I think I would carry to term also. No matter what the medical advice, there would always be that tiny glimmer of hope that bub might make it, there may be a miracle


  • Heartbreaking. In her case I don’t think I would have had the courage the continue with the pregnancy. :-(


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