Just three months ago, Susan Torres was a vibrant young mother who was 15 weeks pregnant with what she hoped would be a baby girl. On May 8th, all of that changed when she lost consciousness from a stroke after an aggressive cancer spread to her brain.
Her husband Jason feared the worst. He says, "The doctor said there was no brain function. But she was young and pregnant and already has a child, so they will give it a shot."
With machines keeping the brain-dead woman's body alive, doctors hoped to allow the child to be born. Jason Torres believes this would have been his wife's final wish. "Without question, I know that Susan would walk through hell and back just to give her child a chance."
As the fetus developed, the mother's cancer continued to spread. As the weeks went on, doctors worried it could threaten the unborn child.
On Tuesday, doctors gave the child a final chance at survival. They performed a caesarian section and delivered a baby girl, Susan Ann Catherine Torres, weighing in at less than a kilogram.
Dr. Donna Tilden-Archer, Medical Director of the Neonatology unit at the Virginia Hospital Center, says for a child born nearly three months early, Baby Torres is doing quite well. "At the moment she was born she was very vigorous and crying and in very good condition for a baby of her gestational age."
The birth however was bittersweet for Susan Torres' family. On Wednesday morning, with her family by her side, Susan Torres passed away when the machines that had sustained her life for the past 12 weeks were turned off.
Family spokesman Justin Torres reflected on Susan's final days. "Susan was always the toughest person in that ICU room. Her passing is a testament to the truth that human life is a gift from God and that children are always to be fought for even if life requires, as it did of Susan, the last full measure of devotion."
A mother's final gift to the daughter she'll never know.