Sydney Wise lived less than three months, but she left behind a legacy of love and caring that her parents continue to revisit.
Sydney was born in Findlay, two weeks before Christmas, 2011. In utero ultrasounds hinted at possible issues with her brain development. It wasn’t until she was born eight weeks premature due to a pregnancy complication that the full story was known.
“They were monitoring her as a premature baby, and she seemed to be doing really well,” says Kim Wise, Sydney’s mother. “But on Christmas Eve the doctor sat us down and told us the name of her condition. I didn’t even know what that was.”
Little Sydney was born with Trisomy 13, also known as Patau Syndrome. Extra genetic material disrupts the normal course of fetal development, and causes major issues including heart and kidney defects. More than 80 percent of children born with Trisomy 13 die before their first birthday.
“But to look at her, you wouldn’t know she had that,” Kim says, adding that the only physical manifestation of the disorder was a cleft palate. “They said they were shocked when they ran the genetic tests.”
The Wises held on to hope, however, especially since Sydney had survived birth. She weighed only three pounds when she was born, eventually growing to five pounds. She came home, and was doing well on a feeding tube. Her heart monitor rarely beeped an alarm, and she went about the business of being a very cute baby who looked like her father and had her mother’s eyes.
“She definitely lit up a room,” Kim says. “At the time we had two dogs at home. One would lick her and she just giggled.”
One evening, however, the heart monitor alarm kept going off and wouldn’t stop. Sydney died on February 25, 2012 at home.
The Wises don’t regret a moment of the 10 weeks they had with their daughter. They also feel that a pregnancy should not necessarily be terminated due to a trisomy diagnosis.
“My husband and I were told that Sydney was just not compatible with life on more than one occasion,” says Wise. “No mother and father should ever think that just because their child has some type of trisomy that their life is not worth living or saving.”
While the Wises will always grieve for their daughter, they decided to turn Sydney’s short life into a legacy to help others. Before Sydney’s birth Kim made jewelry as a hobby. Now, after Sydney’s passing, it’s become something more. She started making bracelets with the pink, yellow and green colors of Trisomy 13/Patau Syndrome awareness, with proceeds going to support families living with Trisomy 13. The $10 bracelets also contain a “hope” charm. Kim was able to sell enough of the bracelets to help provide a Lima woman with a special bear that recorded her child’s heartbeat. Those interested in the bracelets can contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wises plan to organize other fundraisers in the future. In the meantime, Sydney’s mother hopes the bracelets will make a difference, just like Sydney Jean Wise did in the short time she was here.
For more information, visit trisomy.org.