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Gianna Caeli’s Story

Celebrate the life of our daughter and sister, Gianna Caeli, who was diagnosed 10/15/2010 with Trisomy 18.
She was born at home 12/22 and lived 14 wonderful days, departing this life for Eternity on 1/5/11.  

We honor the gift she is to us and to the world.
Gianna (jee-AHN-uh) "God's grace"   
Caeli (CHAY-lee or KAY-lee) "(from) Heaven"

Trisomy 18 is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis, and certainly not a prognosis. It shouldn’t automatically be considered a condition which is incompatible with life!!

Gianna was conceived in March 2010, and is our 12th child.  She is sister to four siblings who've gone Home early to God: Kelly (m/c 1996), Loren Joseph (stillborn 35 weeks, anencephaly, 1999), Tess Elena (m/c 2002), Fiona Maeve (m/c 2010) and has seven living siblings here on earth: Ean, Erin, Kate, Claire, Aidan, Jack, and Joseph.

We announced Gianna's conception to our children out at the Hendry Farm on Easter Sunday - how appropriate to announce new life on THE DAY of NEW LIFE - by placing a poem in an Easter egg, which, when opened, shared the good news.  The children were ecstatic!

AM had a sense from very early on that something was amiss with the baby, but kept quiet about her intuition for months. 

On 10/1, at her regular midwife appointment, some measurements were off, so she requested a fetal survey ultrasound, done locally 10/5.  The scan showed three areas of concern (two vessel umbilical cord, enlarged area of the brain, and excess amniotic fluid) any one of which occurring in isolation wouldn't be a concern, but together pointed at something more serious. 

AM googled incessantly and discovered Trisomy 18.  She hoped against hope that baby didn't have it, but wasn't surprised on 10/14, when visiting Swedish Perinatal Medicine, that the scan and amniocentesis confirmed the suspicion. 

That was the day Gianna Caeli received her name. 

Leaving Swedish, we made plans for a death instead of a birth, but were subsequently exceedingly surprised to learn that children with Trisomy 18 can and do live, some for years.  It is our prayerful hope that Gianna will live outside AM for as long as God wills it...and for the Grace needed to accept whatEVER may be His will.

We are grateful for the chance to parent Gianna (and all her siblings) and feel so thankful God has sent her to us.

Latest Journal Update


Immediately after birth

Immediately after birth

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Dear Gianna, 
How I wish you were here to celebrate with us. It is fun to imagine what you'd look like and be doing at age 5. One thing I do know is you are hard at work praying and interceding for your family here on earth - thank you, love. We need your intercession more than you know!

I remember every detail of your birth day, who was present, what was done, how I had to face an emotional wall in labor as I realized you were on your way and I'd no longer be able to keep you safe and protected. That was HARD. 

It was a blessing to have friends such as Rachel McKay and Amy Ruddell present for care and encouragement and supportive prayer. And of course, what sweet relief when our friend and midwife Carol Gautschi arrived! You were also surrounded by your siblings, Ean, Erin, Kate, Aidan, Jack, and Joseph, as well as your Maga Gramma Marian. 

At your birth, after a 55 minute labor, you seemed so lifeless. I gave you breaths, your dad gave you breaths. We saw your little chest rise with our assistance, but not on your own power. You didn't seem to be responding. Rachel rightly suggested I get out of the birthing tub, so I did, waddling to the bed with you in my arms, while calling for the rest of the family to come in the room. We had no idea how long you'd be with us and I wanted them to see you as soon as possible. I remember every person there praying silently that you would breathe and pink up.

Finally, Carol arrived and had the presence of mind to tell me to take off my top...a camisole I'd worn in labor which was now, of course, dripping wet. I tore it off with help and held you on my chest, skin to skin. YOU BREATHED. YOU PINKED UP. YOU LIVED. Ahhhhhhhh, so amazing, such a gift. 

Soon after, Father Thomas Nathe arrived and gave you your first Sacraments, Baptism and Confirmation...your godparents Lynne and Eric could not be with us, but they joined us in spirit as Amy stood proxy for them. 

I know I spent a joyfully sleepless night with you on my chest, marveling at the wonder and miracle of YOU, and praising and thanking God that you had lived through labor and were with us for a time. 

All the decisions we made for you, before, during, and after birth, were made out of love. In fact, ALL YOU KNEW WAS LOVE, and we love you still. 

Happy blessed birthday, Gianna Caeli. 

Thank you God for choosing Gianna for us and us for Gianna. She was perfectly and wonderfully made. Amen.

I will love you forever, Gianna, and I eagerly anticipate our reunion in Heaven, together with your siblings Kelly, Loren, Tess, Fiona, Sara Noelle, and Henry.

Your Momma 

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1 Comment

Katherine Eames
By Katherine Eames
Blessed Gianna, we love you! pray to God for us!
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