In the hospital bathroom, Sarah Rodriguez, from Norman, Oklahoma, pulled on her gown. She was preparing to spend the last few minutes with her month-old baby daughter, Ellis, as she died. Doctors had told her there was no hope for the baby to survive, beset as she was by bacterial meningitis and sepsis. The mom had made the agonizing decision to hold Ellis, skin to skin, as the baby’s ventilator tube was removed.
The situation was all the more heartbreaking because of the remarkable circumstances that had led to Ellis’s birth. Rodriguez’s husband, Joel, had been diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2010. He was treated with chemotherapy, and while he was in remission, the couple decided to undertake IVF.