By Ralphine Major
Over the phone, her voice was calm and she sounded well-spoken. As we talked, I could tell she was wise beyond her years. In person, Rachael was all of that and more. So was Drew. It was a bitter cold February day when I met the couple, but being in their presence that afternoon quickly warmed my heart. I was running late for our meeting which caused me to see another trait in them. They are so kind. As they began talking about little Jaxson’s medical issues, I was amazed at this young couple discussing medical terms like it is everyday conversation. No wonder—they were talking about their baby boy named Jaxson.
Only hours after being born, Jaxson was sent straight to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. I can only imagine how heart wrenching it was for Rachael’s mother, Leslie Julian Lett, to witness her daughter– as a new mom–spending the first night and day away from her new baby. It was Christmas Eve when Drew and Rachael Cope received a special gift. They got to hold all six pounds, twelve ounces of little Jaxson for the first time.
The doctors saw several markers in Jaxson’s health that led them to decide to send off for genetic testing. “Drew and I declined any genetic testing during pregnancy because we know God has a specific plan for everything and regardless of the results, we wouldn’t have terminated the pregnancy,” Rachael said.
On December 30, Rachael and Drew learned that their son, who was only two weeks old, needed emergency surgery to repair a blockage in his duodenum (small intestine just below the stomach). Only minutes after they found out he needed the emergency surgery, the couple learned that their baby’s genetic testing had come back. Results showed an extremely rare genetic disorder. (Follow the Cope family’s inspiring story next week.)