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Her baby has trisomy 18. She reminds us to enjoy every moment of parenthood.

She was told her newborn could die within days. That baby just enjoyed her first birthday.

Imagine that you're a woman who finds out during a routine doctor's appointment that your unborn baby could die within days of her birth.

That's what happened to this mom.

Motherhood isn't easy for Heather Peterson. All photos are from the Peterson family and used with permission.


In case you missed it, we recently covered the story of Nathan and Heather Peterson. Their daughter Olivia was born with trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome. 

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Babies with this condition usually experience numerous medical difficulties, including problems with their vital organs. Sadly, only about 10% survive to witness their first birthdays.

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Olivia is one of the babies who beat the odds. She celebrated her first year of life on Jan. 7, 2016.

Big smiles for Heather, Nathan, and baby Olivia.

Previously we told the story from Nathan's perspective, but what was it like for the mom who went through it all? 

Heather went to her 20-week sonogram appointment and the doctor became quiet while reviewing the results. That's when she knew something was wrong.

The doctor confirmed her fears. Trisomy 18 was the diagnosis for her unborn daughter.

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After giving the news to Heather, the doctor and nurse waited for a response. With tears streaming down her face, Heather responded by saying, "We're going to be OK."

In spite of the darkness surrounding the news, Heather was able to see the light.

"I remember explaining this to the nurse and doctor, and they were amazed by my strength in light of everything," Heather told Upworthy. "But I sensed that a bigger thing was happening."

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A few days after the diagnosis, she felt it was an opportunity to use her experience to help others in a similar situation. That in itself gave her a sense of purpose even though the days, weeks, and months to follow were extremely difficult. 

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"I felt radiant and a friend remarked that I was glowing," Heather said. "Of course I broke down in despair many times as I thought about the road ahead of me."

Even though Olivia has celebrated her first birthday, Heather's still taking things day by day.

Olivia's first birthday cake, made with love by proud mom Heather.

Remember, approximately 9 out of every 10 babies diagnosed with trisomy 18 won't live to celebrate their first birthdays. This was a huge milestone for the Peterson family, but Heather experienced mixed emotions.

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First she described Olivia's actual birthday, and it was awesome.

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"It was peaceful and everything came together perfectly," Heather said. "I didn't worry about whether everything was going to get done, or worry about Olivia's future. I just thoroughly enjoyed the day."

Olivia's first birthday was wonderful for everyone involved.

But after the celebration was over, the intense fear began to sink in. 

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Heather feared Olivia would be unable to transition from nursing to drinking from a cup. She feared Olivia's birthday could signify the beginning of the end of her life. She feared the gut-wrenching moment when she has to say goodbye to her baby girl.

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That's when she took a deep breath and focused on the things she can control — namely, giving Olivia all of mommy's heart right now.

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"I wasted weeks worrying about the future instead of enjoying the present with my daughter," Heather said. "My job is to love Olivia while she's here." 

And now she has something to say to other moms who may be going through the same thing.

It goes without saying that raising a baby with trisomy 18 can be extremely difficult. Heather has lived it and offers her thoughts to mothers who are experiencing it. 

The days and nights are often exhausting for Heather.

"I grieve for you, mama. I know this road, and it is so painful and beautiful. Enjoy life now, in this moment, in the tiny things around you. Learn how to ask for help and draw closer to the community of friends and family around you. It can be difficult to lean on them, but you will see how much they love you when you allow them to ease your pain."

And for the moms in relationships, she reminds them that they have the green light to be as "much of a mess as possible" and their spouses do as well. The key is to not take anything personally and know that as long as both parties communicate and stay close to each other, it will make things easier. 

You know those milestones that many parents take for granted? The Peterson family reminds us all to enjoy every single one of them.

As parents, we love the milestones our babies experience. It could be when they giggled for the first time or when they learned how to drink from a sippy cup. We may have snapped a photo or rolled some video, but afterward, it was on to the next thing without giving it much thought.

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It's different for the Peterson family. They didn't know if they would ever witness Olivia laughing or drinking from a sippy cup on her own.

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But they did.

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Olivia even laughed out loud for the first time a few weeks ago. See for yourself. 

Throughout the otherworldly tantrums our kids throw in public places and the negotiations we facilitate to get them to eat just one bite of broccoli, we should be reminded to love every moment of the chaos. 

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Heather knows this. And she embraces it all. 

Nobody knows for sure if Olivia will be here to celebrate her second birthday, but the Peterson's music group Hello Industry says it best in their song titled, "The Innocent Will Die." 

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"Anything is possible."

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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