After that appointment, I went home terrified and unsure of what my baby’s future would be. Since I did not have a good understanding of what Down syndrome was, I got on the internet seeking answers. What I found scared me and I realized that the journey of uncertainty had just begun.
October 21, 2014, my doctor called me to meet her at her office the following morning at 7 am. I was confused and could not sleep throughout the whole night since the doctor had never done that before. By 6:40 am, my 3-year-old daughter, my one-year-old son, and I (pregnant with Mercy) were already in the car. On the way, all I could do was pray because by then I had learned to expect the unexpected. When I got there, my doctor explained to me that she was going to be out of town for a few days and just wanted to check up on the baby before she left.

Thank God, she did, because that day when she did the non-stress test on the baby, it failed. Immediately my doctor sent me to the hospital, which was next door. I called my husband who was at work to meet me at the doctor’s office so he could take the kids. While at the hospital I was hooked up to machines when two or three nurses ran into my room telling me to get on my hands and knees. Scared I asked them, “what happened?” and they explained to me that my baby’s heart had stop beating. Another nurse told me that they could not find her on the ultrasound while they were putting me in different positions and before I knew it I was being wheeled to the operation room for an emergency C-section.

Mercy Ebun (Gift) Okubanjo was born in the morning of October 22, 2014 four weeks ahead of her due date. Weighing at only 4 lbs. 10 oz., she came out screaming and kicking. Mercy defied all odds. Although born with Down syndrome and two holes in her heart, she did not let that slow her down. Mercy was always a strong and happy baby. From the moment she was born, she was kicking her legs; you could not hold Mercy still because she was so active. She was putting her pacifier in and out of her mouth at NICU. She was loved and cared for while she was at Thunderbird Banner for eight days. She was known as the baby with lots of black curly hair. She was so beautiful. Mercy was doing things no one expected her to do. Despite her diagnosis and weight, Mercy was a normal baby. She did everything you would expect a baby her age to do and more. Her doctors kept asking if I was sure, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome because she did not look and act like what they defined as a Down syndrome baby.

My baby was special to me and to those who knew her. She put smiles on peoples face wherever she went. She was a joy to both my husband and her siblings and we adored her. Mercy was the center of our world; she was our baby, our angel.

On the Sunday morning of April 19, it was a normal day. Mercy was joyful rocking on her swing, trying to get her toy monkey to put in her mouth. My eldest daughter hiding under her swing and my middle son watching Barney on TV (his favorite show). I never knew that would be the last day we would all be together under one roof as a family. That night around 5pm, Mercy started vomiting after eating which was kind of normal for her. Because she was only 10 pounds at 3 days shy of turning 6 months old, her appetite was bigger than her stomach. So when she started vomiting, we thought nothing of it. Well I wish we had because that send her to the hospital where she passed later that night. It is still undermine what caused my baby’s death despite all the test done on her.

There hasn’t been a day that I have not thought of my Mercy. My beautiful Mercy.

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  1. So sorry for your loss, hugs

  2. Thank you for sharing beautiful Mercy with us.

  3. Thank you for sharing. My daughter also had down syndrome and holes in her heart. She had an intense combination of significant heart defects which the cardiologists said they had never seen before yet she defied the odds and surprised us all by making it as long as she did. She loved to kick her legs and wiggle her arms. She ate like a champ and showed us that she was much more than her diagnosis. She passed away due to post op complications after her second heart surgery last month. I miss her everyday but I love that I got to know my daughter, see her strong personality and connect with her. Reading your story, which is so similar to our own, reminds me that we are not isolated in our experiences completely. Hugs.

  4. Thank u Kalle for sharing ur story with me and am so sorry for ur loss. Xoxo

  5. Today is my little Mercy’s birthday. I am trying so hard to be strong, but… I just can’t stop imagining what she would have look like, am sure she would have been tearing up my house by now, lol! Oh I miss my baby so much. Happy Birthday Mercy, mommy, daddy and your siblings love you so much and you are alway going to be in our hearts.

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