TV news anchor Allison Latos’ baby died less than two hours after her birth. But in the brief time she was alive, her family cradled and prayed over her. And this inspirational short story shows God’s beautiful design at work, even amidst tragedy.
Allison Latos is a local TV news anchor for Channel 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina. And when she and her husband, Josh Lucas, decided it was time to start a family, they had no idea the whirlwind journey they would experience.
Conception was far more difficult than the couple ever expected.
"I think like a lot of people who haven't experienced infertility before, you just assume that it'll work when you're ready and you'll just be able to have children," Allison says. "So it was hard to accept and understand why it wasn't going to work the way we planned."
It took months and the help of fertility treatments at the REACH Fertility Center. But in 2018, the couple finally welcomed their first child. Allison Latos’ baby girl arrived perfectly healthy and they named her Hope.
A year later, Allison and Josh were ready to try again. But factors outside of their control delayed any fertility treatments. However, to their surprise and delight, it turned out the treatments weren’t necessary the second time around.
"Because we needed REACH and all of the meds to have Hope," Allison says, "I think we both just assumed it wasn't going to happen again without medicine. But it did. It was a huge shock. We felt like, ‘What an incredible story for our second child’.”
Sadly, though, there were more challenges ahead. But God was already paving the way with special blessings to help this family through these tough times.
Unexpected Complications Arise
Everything seemed to be going smoothly with the pregnancy. But then Allison started feeling itchy all over her body around 33-weeks.
And that’s when things took a drastic turn.
Cholestasis, a liver condition common in pregnant women, was to blame for the itching sensations. And since the condition can cause fetal complications, doctors decided to keep a very close eye on Allison Latos’ baby through weekly ultrasounds.
But the next scan revealed the problems went beyond just Cholestasis. Doctors found the news anchor had way more amniotic fluid than she should. On top of that, Allison Latos’ baby had an enlarged heart and a head that was measuring far bigger than it should.
"At that point, I think I was just in a state of absolute shock," the mom recalls.
The doctor sent Allison to the hospital. And there, things got even worse. Further tests revealed Allison Latos’ baby suffered from a very rare condition called a dural arteriovenous fistula.
Allison Latos’ Baby Gets Grim Diagnosis
An abnormal passageway had formed between an artery and a vein in the baby’s brain. As a result, it stole blood flow from the rest of the body. The overflow of blood collected in a pouch inside the baby’s brain, taking up more than three-quarters of space.
"So, instead of your brain getting good blood flow through all the vessels, it's stolen to this malformation,” explained Erin Kiehna, an expert neurosurgeon who helped with Allison’s case. “And the heart is desperate to keep up."
What all of this meant was that Allison Latos’ baby had severe irreversible brain damage and wouldn’t survive long after birth. At some point after the delivery, her little body simply wouldn’t be able to tell itself how to breathe.
Finding Joy During Tragedy
The devastating news wasn’t the only thing the couple learned that day. Allison and Josh had opted to keep the baby’s gender a surprise. As a result, on the same day they learned their baby wouldn’t survive, they also discovered they were having their second girl.
Allison Latos would carry her baby for two more weeks. It was an emotionally challenging feat considering the terminal diagnosis. Yet, there was some comfort during that time, too.
“As long as I was pregnant, she was still alive,” the news anchor explained.
"There's a part of me that wishes we didn't have to go through that," her husband Josh says of the 13 days leading up to the delivery. "But at the same time, in a weird way, it was a blessing that we were given time to process that and to think about it.”
In the days before the delivery, Allison Latos prayed that she would give birth to a living, breathing baby. And the couple made a decision to cherish whatever time the Lord gave them with their unborn child.
"If we have an hour, or if we have 15 minutes, we didn't want that time to be time that we are sad or angry or frustrated. We wanted to make sure that we were very deliberate … that we were able to love her as best as we could in the short time we had," Josh explained.
At Allison’s next check-up, her elevated blood pressure prompted doctors to perform a c-section. At 8 pm, Josh and Allison held hands and prayed. And at 8:09 pm they heard a beautiful sound — their baby’s cries.
Allison Latos Gets Cherished Time With Baby
The couple smiled through their tears. The cries meant Allison Latos’ baby was alive. And while mere hours would never feel long enough, there was no denying the joy of getting to meet and love on their baby.
Allison and Josh will forever cherish the time spent with their second daughter, whom they named Hannah Joy.
If doctors hadn’t been able to diagnose Allison Latos’ baby in utero, things would have gone very differently. Upon her birth, nurses would have immediately realized something was wrong and whisked the baby away in an effort to save her.
So, knowing Hannah Joy couldn’t survive was actually a special blessing. It allowed the medical staff to step back and let the family enjoy the brief time they had with their baby girl.
As a result, Allison and Josh spent nearly two hours praying over their baby, singing to her, and telling her all about her big sister, Hope. Then, just before 10 pm, Allison Latos’ baby passed away peacefully in her mother’s arms.
Allison waited a few weeks before announcing their loss publicly.
"We are heartbroken but we know that she has been made whole and is now in His arms,” she wrote in an emotional post on Facebook. “We believe that one day, we will see her again."
Allison Latos Announces Loss Of Baby
Remembered Always, Hannah Joy
Later, Allison Latos returned to work as a TV news anchor.
"I am looking forward to having some familiar part of my life from before back again,” she explained, “in that it will be good to feel like, ‘OK, I'm going to put my professional hat on and this isn't going to be what I think about all day every day.' Not that I don't want to think about it, but just so it isn't all-consuming."
And while Allison Latos’ baby won’t be a topic of discussion while she’s on-air, that doesn’t mean the couple won’t talk about Hannah Joy every chance they can.
"We do have two children," Allison says, "and I want to be as proud of her as I am of Hope. Because her life has meaning and her life is valuable. … Even if we only had her for 90 minutes, those were the most precious minutes. So even though we may be emotional and we might cry, we want to share her story."
WATCH: Allison Latos Gives Thanks For Support
One of the most beautiful parts of the Allison Latos baby story is the name they chose for their second daughter.
“We actually had her name picked before we knew the gender — before we knew anything about the diagnosis," Allison shares.
Their late daughter’s first name means “God’s grace.” And they chose the middle name, Joy, because they “were so excited to celebrate another life in our family.”
“I think her name is even more significant now because it's become a prayer in and of itself for us,” Allison Latos explains. “Even on those really hard days, we have said to each other - that we just pray for the grace to get through the really hard moments.”
It’s the perfect name and the perfect reminder that there is always hope thanks to Jesus!
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