Human Interest

‘God has a plan for Emma’: Parents meet and grieve loss of daughter with anencephaly

One mother is sharing the joy and grief of her daughter’s brief life. News anchor Brooke Martin of WISH-TV in Indianapolis shared openly last fall that her preborn daughter had been diagnosed with anencephaly.

On Friday, March 15, Martin’s daughter, named Emma Noelle, was born and lived for 21 minutes after birth.

In a Facebook post, Martin wrote, “Her perfect lips. Her sweet button nose. Her pretty eyes. Her big feet and long fingers. Her chubby thighs and soft skin. These are thing things I’ll remember about our Emma Noelle. Those, and so much more.”

After Emma Noelle was born, Martin and her husband held her and spoke to the daughter they had longed to meet and knew they only had a short time to be with in this life. Martin wrote, “At one point, while being held by Cole, Emma heard me talking to the doctor. The nurses still remark about her head jerking toward me, recognizing her mama’s voice. She then passed in her Daddy’s arms. I am confident she felt loved.” Martin added that she and her husband also felt loved by Emma in the brief time they were able to spend with her. Emma also met her older brother, Max, before she passed away.


The Martin family (via Brooke Martin’s Facebook page)

Martin and her husband Cole chose Emma Noelle’s from the word “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.” Martin has shared how her family’s faith has guided them, saying, “We are so confident that God has a plan for Emma, that he is going to redeem her story.”

In a video posted the day before Emma Noelle’s delivery, Martin said she had expected to feel dread leading up to the day of her daughter’s birth but what she felt was joy and anticipation. She acknowledged that there had been many emotionally difficult moments throughout the pregnancy, but said she felt a strong sense of peace. To the countless people who heard the Martins’ story and had been praying for a miracle, Martin said, “Miracles have already happened. This journey has been a miracle.”

Emma Noelle Martin (via Brooke Martin’s Facebook page)

People across the country have been moved by the Martins’ story and sent messages of love and support to WISH-TV. Martin posted on Facebook that the family will celebrate Emma’s life with other families who have experienced infant loss. The event will be held on Saturday, April 27, at 10 am at Traders Point Christian Church in Whitestown, Indiana.

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