Couple gets married at hospice so dying infant can be part of ceremony
By JENNIFER EARL
While exchanging their vows in the middle of a hospice room wasn’t exactly the wedding ceremony Patricia Armstrong and her newlywed husband, Christopher, imagined, it was worth it to have their baby boy by their sides.
Their 1-month-old son, Conner, was born with a rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards’ syndrome — a condition that causes severe, usually fatal, birth defects in babies.
“Basically he has an extra eighteenth chromosome. It has more internal effects,” Conner’s dad, Christopher, told CBS affiliate WFMY in North Carolina. “He has three holes in his heart.”
Trisomy occurs in about 1 in every 2,500 pregnancies in the U.S., according to the Trisomy 18 Foundation, many of which end in stillbirths. Studies have shown only about half of babies who are carried to term will be born alive, and very few survive till their first birthday.
Conner was given only weeks — maybe months — to live.
“We were told we didn’t have much time left with Conner,” Christopher said. “So we wanted him to be [at the wedding].”
In order to make that happen, the couple held their wedding at the hospice center in Lexington, North Carolina, where their child was being cared for.
Patricia said the ceremony was perfect, because the whole family was together. Christopher even held Conner in his arms as they said their “I do’s.”
“It’s been scary. It’s been emotional, but it’s well worth it,” Patricia said.
On Tuesday, just three days after their wedding, Conner died.
“We cherish every minute we got to spend with you and everyone who was blessed to meet you are so grateful,” Christopher wrote in a post to his son on Facebook Wednesday. “We love you and you will never be forgotten... until we meet again.”
Patricia said when it comes to the care and decisions regarding their son, her and her husband have no regrets.
“We gave him the chance to live, love and be loved. We gave up everything to be closer to our son,” she posted on Facebook. “We fought for Conner, and in return he fought for us and as long as he was fighting we’d be right there. Conner was truly heaven sent and we don’t regret allowing him to have a chance at life.”