HAMILTON, Ontario, 10 September, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – As Parliament faces a vote in 11 days over a motion that would debate the personhood of the unborn child, a mother and father are joyously celebrating their premie daughter, who, one year ago, was born weighing 500 grams (1.1 lb.) and about the size of a pop-can.

First-time mother Jennifer Rodrigue was five months pregnant when she woke up one morning with a splitting headache, which she managed to ignore for a day.

“I felt like I was going to have a stroke,” she said to TheSpec. “It was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.”

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A trip to the emergency department the following day revealed that her blood pressure level was dangerously high. Doctors rushed Jennifer by ambulance to McMaster Children’s Hospital where specialists recognized the signs of pre-eclampsia.

“That half-hour ride was the worst,” she said. “I was bawling the whole time. It was extreme fright. It didn’t seem real.”

Pre-eclampsia, called a silent killer, is a condition indicative of a malfunctioning placenta. It can lead to seizures that put mother and baby in grave danger. Signs include high-blood pressure, protein in the urine, excessive swelling, blurry vision, and headaches.

Doctors gave Jennifer’s baby a 40% chance of survival. They did everything they could to keep mother and baby alive, including putting Jennifer on bed rest in the hospital. Mother and baby were monitored closely.

“Every hour gave [my baby] a better chance of survival,” Jennifer said. “I wanted to give [my baby] a fighting chance.”

Jennifer told her husband Michel that in case she died, he was to fill the baby’s life with love.

Doctors monitored the vital signs of mother and baby for six days. After seeing an increase in the baby’s distress signs, they performed an emergency caesarean section.

Brooklyn Rose was born August 27, 2011, one of the tiniest premature babies born at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

“I remember how amazing and inspiring she was,” recounted Jennifer of her daughter’s struggle to live.

Jennifer was at first scared to love her tiny daughter, being afraid that Brooklyn would not be with them long. But a hospital social worker helped Jennifer to overcome her fears by affirming her motherhood and her ability to love Brooklyn no matter what might happen.

With all the medical equipment that tiny Brooklyn was hooked up to — that made the little baby practically inaccessible to her mother — Jennifer showed great love by pumping over 2,000 bottles of breast milk for her daughter during the five-and-a-half month stay in the hospital.

Brooklyn was released from the hospital in February. Jennifer and Michel say that she is developing by leaps and bounds at home. While Brooklyn suffers from chronic lung disease, vision problems, and a hole in her heart, Jennifer and Michel nonetheless consider her life a gift.

“She is a character,” the parents say. “She’s independent, strong, a fighter, a hoot and inspiring. She’s unbelievable.”

Alissa Golob, director of Campaign Life Coalition Youth, told LifeSiteNews that it is “amazing to see so much support and love shown to this beautiful premature baby.”

Golob called it a “sad reality” that not all babies are given as much love and support. “Under our current Criminal Code, unborn babies are not afforded protection in the womb simply because of their environment.”

“There is no real difference between a premie baby like Brooklyn and any other young life in a mother’s womb,” she said.

“Brooklyn’s story just reinforces the fact that preborn children are really human persons, and should be recognized as such, despite their size, level of development, dependency and environment.”

Read full account at The Spec.