Haley Parke announced the birth of her second son on Facebook. However, what should have been a happy day was full of grief. Her husband, Jb, suffered from a rare form of kidney cancer with the prognosis of six months to live. But earlier that week, he went to the Hartford hospital when complications arose. And on December 1, the couple learned he only had a few more days to live. Nevertheless, Jb was able to hold his newborn son for the first and last time.
A Father Meets His Newborn Son Just Before Passing Away
After the couple learned of Jb’s new prognosis. Parke became determined for him to meet their new baby.
“With our second son’s due date 3 weeks away, my husband and I knew asking for an induction was the right thing to do,” Parke wrote in her heart-wrenching post. “Without hesitation, the team of ICU doctors communicated with the head of high-risk labor and delivery doctors. They offered me an induction as soon as I was ready.” 
However, the labor was going slowly and Jb’s condition began to quickly worsen. The doctors decided to perform a cesarean section and Parke immediately agreed. “It was either a c-section right at that moment, or Jb would not have the opportunity to meet our son,” she wrote.
Twenty minutes later, John Beeson was born. Parke gave him a quick kiss, then the team of hospital staff rushed him two floors and placed him on his father’s chest. At this moment, all of Jb’s vitals improved. He was able to acknowledge his son with small moans and head movements.
Then the doctors wheeled Parke from the operating room to her husband’s so she could recover beside him. The family got to spend about 35 to 40 minutes together.
“From the OR to the ICU room, there were what felt like hundreds of doctors and nurses floating us through this process effortlessly. Not one of them having a dry eye the entire time,” Parke wrote. “Some of them told me they’ll never forget this act of selflessness. Some called my actions brave and heroic. I just call it love. I acted out of love. I put my trust in God that this was part of his plan, and I did what I had to do, out of love, to fulfill my husband’s last wish.“
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“He wanted to keep fighting for his family“
Although John Beeson Parke came three weeks early, he weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, with fully developed lungs. This is miraculous because if he had any complications, the doctors would have taken him to the NICU, and potentially ruin his chance to meet his dad who became his namesake. “Welcome to the world baby Jb,” Parke wrote. “Your story is truly a miracle.“
Jb Parke died on December 2, leaving behind his newborn, wife, and 18-month-son Brinton. The couple had met through work in 2016. “He was a fighter,” Parke said. “He said he wasn’t really ever willing to give up. He wanted to keep fighting for his family.”
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He received his cancer diagnosis in January 2021 and his fight began. He underwent surgery that removed his left kidney, which included a tumor as big as a softball. Four months later, he was undergoing chemotherapy and joining clinical trials when they decided to have another child. “Since the diagnosis was terminal, we decided to make the choice to get pregnant 10 months postpartum from our first son,” said Parke. “We wanted to make sure that our son had a sibling and that my husband would have, we were hoping, more time with our second son.“
She became pregnant in April with a frozen embryo they had stored after using in-vitro fertilization to become pregnant with Brinton. Meanwhile, Jb’s cancer didn’t shrink despite all of his treatments.
“Pretty much every scan showed continued growth and continued spread throughout his entire body, so nothing was really touching the cancer,” she said. “We just tried to stay positive and keep our heads up and keep looking forward.“
“Life feels like a blur”
Jb’s younger sister, Kate Parke, testifies to the couple’s bravery during this difficult year.
“I just watched Haley and my brother continuously show up for each other,” she said. “Even when he was very sick, he planned a surprise sprinkle for her last month. He always put his family first. Even when he physically couldn’t do things, he made sure that they knew they were appreciated and they were his first priority.”
Parke got interviewed by Good Morning America two weeks after losing her husband and becoming a mother of two. She explained that life feels “like a blur” as she tries to process both events. “It doesn’t really feel real yet,” she said. “Sometimes within the same minute. The grief comes and goes, but it’s also accompanied with the greatest joy of my new son and my oldest obviously too.” 
A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family, and their goal of $100,000 was exceeded in just a month. Some people comment that they had also lost someone to cancer while all gave encouragement and sympathy to the family.
In an interview with Today, Parke explains she has a feeling she’d know what Jb would say to her if he could. “He would tell me he’s proud of me,” she said. “He would say, ‘Thank you.’” 
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