When Sara Heller was 24 weeks pregnant with her son, an ultrasound showed that he would be born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. Heller and partner Chris Eidam were very shocked to say the least, but with time they realized their son looked beautiful and planned to share as many beautiful pictures of him as possible.
In a piece she wrote for The Mighty, she said, “Google told me I would not be able to breastfeed my baby, that he may never walk and that his developmental delay would be severe. While Google told me all of the things my son wouldn’t be able to do, Google didn’t tell me what my son would be able to do.”
“They asked us if we wanted to keep the pregnancy,” said Chris told WOWT. Thankfully, Brody’s parents were determined to keep their son and give him the best life they possibly could.
Baby Brody was born on Oct. 7, 2016, with a cleft lip and palate as well as a chromosome deletion. His condition is so rare that only 9 cases are known of in the world.
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Sara and Chris were very determined to change people’s perceptions, so Sara started to document their journey. Talking to Today, she said, “It is OK to be proud of your baby no matter the circumstances. We wanted to change what ultrasound/newborn/first year pictures on our Facebook/Instagram accounts looked like. We wanted to spread awareness of cleft lips and palates.”
Sadly, as is usual with social media, not everyone was kind and sensitive with their comments. One commenter on Instagram even asked, “What’s wrong with his face?”
But the family also got lots of support from most people including a generous donation from a stranger who saw them at a restaurant. Sara was out with baby Brody and a few friends when a waiter brought a $1,000 check with a note in the memo line, “For the beautiful baby.”
“Tears fell from my eyes immediately and the happiness my heart felt is indescribable,” Sara said. The check helped later helped in the payment of some of Brody’s medical bills. “The generosity of a complete stranger restored our faith in humanity,” Sara told Today.
“Being Brody’s parent has taught me that people care. Strangers all over the country want to hear his story, and they want to pray for him.” She added.
On the 3rd of January 2017, Brody had his first surgery and is expected to have more over the years as he develops.