Joe Baker, founder of Save the Storks, spoke to Live Action News last month about the upcoming birth of his daughter, Ember. Baker and his wife, Ann, are also parents to three boys, and were overjoyed to find out they were expecting a fourth child. Ember was soon diagnosed with a birth defect, and was not expecting to live long past birth. The family has announced publicly that Ember was born on November 4, and lived for one hour and six minutes after birth.
The Bakers spent the pregnancy loving their daughter as much as they could, and embarking on the Ember Tour around the country. They also collected artwork from people around the world, with the goal of making her delivery room the most beautiful space possible. They made sure to take advantage of every moment they had to share with Ember — who was diagnosed with anencephaly — both in the womb and outside of it.
“We loved her well, and it was life-changing for our whole family,” Baker told Live Action News. “It’s just amazing to see this little baby. She was very peaceful, and it was just precious, just that little bit of time. She just felt loved.”
The artwork project to make Ember’s delivery room beautiful was more successful than they could have imagined — and it was a surprise for the hospital staff, too. “Because we were there for so long, we saw so many shifts of nurses, and every time, it was like, a joke to see it coming,” Baker said. “The nurses would walk in and be blown away. Like, we’ve never seen something like this before! Every one of them would say something like that. It felt like we were wrapped in love by so many people. It was so cool to just be in that room. It wasn’t cold, it didn’t feel like a prison cell or a hospital room. It felt like we were loved, our baby was loved. We read each one, and chose where each one would go. Our kids loved it. I’m really glad we did that.”
Thankfully, the hospital staff was able to be there for the family in the epitome of compassion-centered health care.
“They were just broken-hearted with us. It was just amazing,” Baker said. “They all wanted to help, and they let us break all the rules. They just let us do our thing, and love our daughter, and they were just so kind. They were just supportive of us. They even made pieces of artwork for us, too. Many of them are going to come to Ember’s funeral.” The memorial service will be held on Sunday, November 7, at Cross Fellowship Church Black Forest in Colorado Springs.
While the family was prepared for Ember’s eventual passing and knew what to expect, that didn’t make the end of their time with Ember any easier — especially for her mother, Ann.
“She got really emotional when her water first broke,” he recalled. “We knew that our end was drawing near with Ember, instead of all the excitement of meeting her, and you could just feel all the weight of her coming death. Labor was intense… really hard. Then she came, this little, tiny baby.”
Ember was 4 lbs. 14 oz. and was 15.75 inches long, and while they initially had taken time to pray over what her middle name would be, they eventually chose to name her Ember Moonlight. Baker shared on a public Facebook post:
We all met the beautiful Ember Moonlight Baker at 11:05 this morning after 26 hours of very intense labor. She was a dainty little thing weighing only 4 lbs. 14 oz. and was 15.75 inches of pure joy. Ember was prettier than anyone could of ever imagined. And that is likely why Jesus took her home so quick. She lived for a precious 1 hour and 6 minutes out of the womb. When she went to Heaven Ann’s words were clear: “you were so worth it.” I’ve never cried so hard. I’ve never fought so intensely. I’ve never prayed so deeply. I am no longer the same. My family has forever been changed. The world will not forget our blazing Ember – so tiny, so bright, so powerful.
And the whole world saw a girl who could make heaven a little brighter for us all.
“There’s just something special in our family. We hike a lot, and one of our things we like to do is turn off our head lamps at night, and just navigate by the ambient moonlight,” Baker told Live Action News. “It’s just a magical time, in our family, and our life, and our marriage. It’s a way now to be reminded of her when we do that. We wanted to pick something that would remind us of her, in that time.”
The Bakers’ three sons, Sam, Sylvan, and Joey, have all reacted to Ember’s life and death in their own individual ways.
“They got to see her alive,” Baker said. “They will not be the same. Little Joey, our two-year-old, who I thought was going to come into the room like a tornado, was so focused. He was so fixated, and just amazed at this little girl. He didn’t know what was going on, but Sylvan kind of understood. Sam really understood. Sam was sad; he wishes he could have a sister. He wants a sister really bad. Sylvan would pray at dinner each night, and he has this prayer, where he says, ‘Dear God, I pray that we all get to hold Ember, and that I have the time to marry her.’ It’s like the greatest endearing love he can imagine.”
“We knew this was coming, and I thought our hearts were ready, but it is sad,” he said. “We’re really experiencing that loss. And not even the loss of just our baby, holding her, it’s even Ann carrying her — we’ve gotten to know her. I think we’re going to set up our Christmas tree on the fourth of November each year now, as a way to remember her.”
Ember’s life was also honored by Christian recording artist Matt Hammitt — whose own son Bowen was born with half a heart — in a song called, “Even Though.”
Baker said hospital staff respected all of their wishes through the labor and delivery process.
“We didn’t let anybody touch her. We just knew too much. It was like, we’re going to take the time with our baby, and not put her on any machines or anything, and comfort her, and hold her,” he said. “If we had given her oxygen, she might have lasted a few more minutes, but … she just needed to be with Mom, and be held. It’s… something else, to watch a baby die. She would just gasp, these little gasps for air, but at the same time, it wasn’t desperate. She actually seemed very gentle. She wasn’t full of stress, but very comforted by Ann holding her. She was just kind of passing one world to the next, very gently. She lived an hour and six minutes outside the womb, and over eight months inside the womb… our family is going to be feeling like there’s a hole in our family from now on.”
To read more about the Baker family and their journey with Ember, you can add Baker on his Facebook page.
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