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‘Grief and joy’: Mom gives birth to son moments before husband’s death 

Their baby boy came 3 weeks early, but just in time.
Haley and Jb Parke had been married for three years. Jb was diagnosed with cancer in January 2021.
Haley and Jb Parke had been married for three years. Jb was diagnosed with cancer in January 2021.Courtesy Haley Parke
/ Source: TODAY

It’s been less than two weeks since Haley Parke gave birth to her second son and lost her husband on the same day. 

“I have no words,” she told TODAY. “It’s very complicated.”

On Dec. 2, Parke gave birth three weeks early to a baby boy. Later that same day, her husband passed away from cancer he had been battling since being diagnosed in January 2021. 

The early delivery was a choice Parke and her husband, Jb, came to when just days before, the six-month prognosis he had been given was changed to just days. 

Haley and Jb Parke had been elated about their growing family.Courtesy Haley Parke

“The doctor told us cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. His lungs were filled with fluid,” she said. 

The couple asked, and were given the OK for, an induction. But things weren’t moving fast enough. Jb had just hours to live. 

In a now-viral Facebook post that’s been shared more than 40,000 times, Parke wrote in part, “It was either a c-section right at that moment, or Jb would not have the opportunity to meet our son.”

Parke agreed and within 20 minutes, their son was born. She told TODAY she “had faith” Jb would hold on until the baby came. He did. 

A team of doctors and nurses ran the baby upstairs to his dad and placed the baby on his chest. Almost immediately, Jb’s vitals started to improve. Haley arrived in Jb’s room soon after and held her husband’s hand as he held the baby. “He took his last breaths with our son on his chest and my hand in his hand,” she wrote. 

The couple, who had been married three years and also had an 18-month-old son, had not picked out a name prior to the baby’s birth. But Parke knew just what to call him: John Beeson Parke — also known as baby Jb. He was born completely healthy, Parke told TODAY. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family.

Jb Parke holds hands with his firstborn son.Courtesy Haley Parke

“God prepared our son for this very moment because he came out weighing 7lbs 4oz at 20in long, with fully developed lungs that let out the sweetest of cries,” she wrote in her post. 

Parke told TODAY that as she experiences “both my greatest grief and my greatest joy,” she has a feeling she knows what Jb would say to her now if he could.

“He would tell me he’s proud of me,” she said. “He would say, ‘Thank you.’”