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Brief moments with tiny angel

Cancer claims newborn

POSTED: December 22, 2007 5:02 a.m.

Lily Anna Brazell was born at 12:52 a.m. Nov. 5 at Liberty Regional Medical Center.
Three hours later, she died of cancer.
Her death came as a shock to her family, who was still celebrating the baby girl’s arrival when they learned she had unexpectedly died.
“It was like a bad dream,” the baby’s mother, Francis Brazell, said. “She (doctor) comes in and says Miss Brazell, your baby took a turn for the worst. We tried to revive her and called for Life Star, but before they could get here she passed away. There was nothing we could do.”
Disbelief is how the 31-year-old Hinesville woman described her reaction to the news of Lily’s death. After all, she had held the baby right after her birth and she seemed perfectly healthy.
“She looked exactly like I said she was going to look. She looked like me when I was little,” Francis said. “She had curly black hair, her eyes were real big ... she was wide awake ... she had a flat nose. I thought, ‘Look at all the pretty hair.’”
And although Lily arrived two weeks early, she weighed a healthy 7 pounds and 11 ounces, and measured 20-1/2 inches.
But what an autopsy later revealed was Lily had suffered from a form of childhood cancer known as neuroblastoma and there was an egg-sized tumor on her right adrenal gland that had metastasized to her liver.
The tumor reportedly ruptured when the baby had passed through the birth canal.
Unfortunately, the problem went undetected initially.

“It was a very easy delivery,” Francis said, noting there were no signs of complications.
The new mom then held her tiny daughter for about five minutes, and Lily spent another 15 to 20 minutes in the hospital room before she was taken to the nursery.
During that time, Francis’ aunt and cousin took photos of the baby and began sending them and text messages out to friends and family.
Among the people notified about the baby’s birth was Lily’s 10-year-old brother, Brandon, who was staying with a relative while his mom was in the hospital.
Francis said her son had wanted a brother or sister for years and was ecstatic when he learned about the baby’s pending arrival.
When Francis went into labor, Brandon got all excited, grabbed his mom’s bag she had readied for the hospital and began calling everyone to share the news.
“He went with me to the hospital,” she said.
The youngster had gone home with a relative before the baby’s arrival and never got to see his baby sister before her death.
“He had already seen a picture of her alive. I told him that God had taken her to heaven because she was very sick. Rather than Lily suffer, God would take care of her,” Francis said. “He was real upset.”
She also said she’s thankful the family was able to spend some time with the baby after her death.
“He (Brandon) did get to hold her,” she said.
On, Francis wrote about her son, noting, “He was so looking forward to playing with his little sister. I find him always looking up in the sky and when I ask him what he is looking at, he says he is looking up at Lily.”
Although Francis is thankful for those precious moments she had with her daughter, Lily’s loss has been excruciating.
“It is just like I had her my whole life and then I lost her. It doesn’t matter how long ... I bonded with her during pregnancy. I talked to her ... my co-workers rubbed my stomach. It’s just like she’s always been around,” Francis said. “I think about her every minute of the day.”
She recalled walking into Wal-Mart after Lily’s death and seeing lots children and pregnant women - something that took its toll emotionally.
Unlike the other women shopping for baby clothes, Francis was there to buy a sweater for her daughter’s funeral to cover the baby’s autopsy scars and other marks left behind by medical procedures.
Francis noted Lily’s dress was donated by Classy Kids of Jesup. She also said several people helped pay for the baby’s funeral costs.
In addition to relying on her family and friends to help see her through the tragedy, Francis said she takes comfort in knowing Lily is no longer suffering.
She also relies heavily on her faith and said, “The only thing that gives me any piece at all is just praying and trusting that God knows what he’s doing.”
On  MySpace, Francis wrote, “I wouldn’t trade those few moments with Lily for anything in this world. And, as I sit here now, I am certain more now than ever that I made the right decision to do what was right in my heart and I would go thru those nine months all over again.
“I have a picture of her on my desk and every time I see her precious face it makes me smile and cry at the same time.
“My goals in life used to be to make money, buy a house and become financially stable. Those goals have changed. I want to get Brandon raised, spoil my grandchildren and get to see my Little Lily Anna again one day.”

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