Parents Leah and Judah Bucko were just 14 weeks into their pregnancy journey, eagerly awaiting the day they could meet baby number two, when they received devastating news.
There was excess fluid in the womb surrounding their baby, and the doctors didn’t expect the pregnancy to remain viable past 16 weeks. The recommended course of action, they said, was an abortion.
The Buckos already had an older son named Elijah, but they didn’t want to give up hope on their prospect of becoming a family of four. Determined to let their faith guide them through the difficult, complicated pregnancy, they told the doctors that they wanted to hold on—and, with prayers and crossed fingers, monitored their unborn son week after week.
It was a roller-coaster ride of emotions. First, the family rejoiced when the mysterious fluid in Leah’s womb disappeared over the course of the next two ultrasounds. Then, they were given more bad news: their little son, whom they’d decided to name Reuben, had a heart condition and a cyst on his brain. Time and again, doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy early.
Time and time again, though, Leah told her doctors no. “I’m coming back with a miracle,” she told them—and week after week, the pregnancy remained viable. They made it to 37 weeks, officially carrying their sweet baby boy to full term.
“We were again offered a termination but I didn’t want the baby to pass away in the womb and I made the choice to go to the end of my pregnancy,” explained Leah. “Against all the odds Reuben was brought into the world by C-section.”
Reuben was dubbed a miracle, breathing and very much alive months after doctors thought he wasn’t going to make it. His parents were given the precious gift of being able to hold him in their arms, something the doctors thought would never happen.
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Unfortunately, his health problems were too severe to overcome. He was officially diagnosed with Edward’s syndrome (also called trisomy 18), which causes severe health complications involving heart abnormalities like Reuben’s due to an extra chromosome. Only about 50 percent of infants who survive to birth are able to live past their first week of life, and Reuben was unfortunately not one of those. Just seven days after he was born, the Buckos lost their sweet baby boy.
In the aftermath, the family has shared both heartbreak and optimism as they chronicle their life journey, looking back on their angel baby and looking ahead to the third child they’re now expecting this summer.
Even though they suffered an immense loss, though, the journey was worth it for mom Leah, who wrote a poignant caption on a picture of her pregnant with baby Reuben just days after his death:
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“My beautiful baby boy Reuben was all snug in my womb at this point while I was still fighting and praying for his precious life,” she wrote. “I do not regret waiting it out, every moment was precious . He was so worth it . I miss him every second of everyday but I can look back at this photo and remember the joy of carrying him till the end .”