There is sadness and joy in one Virginia home today.
Susan Torres, 26, died Wednesday, one day after giving birth to a healthy baby girl by Caesarean section. Torres has been brain dead since suffering a cancer-related stroke in May, but was kept alive for nearly three months in hopes of delivering the child.
"Susan was always the toughest person in the ICU room," said her brother-in-law, Justin Torres. "Her passing is a testament to the truth that human life is a gift from God and that children are always to be fought for."
With the consent of her husband, Jason Torres, doctors at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington turned off Susan Torres' life support early Wednesday after she received the final sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church.
Torres lost consciousness on May 7 after aggressive melanoma spread to her brain, causing the stroke.
Melanoma is one of the few cancers that can penetrate the placenta, but so far doctors see no sign of cancer in newborn Susan Ann Catherine Torres, although they cautioned it was too early to tell.
"We will see what the placenta shows when the pathologist is finished," Dr. Donna Tilden-Archer, director of neonatology overseeing the baby's care, told "GMA." "If there's no tumor in the placenta, we will still need to monitor the baby well into her toddlerhood, maybe two to three years."
Baby Susan was born at 27 weeks, nearly 3 months premature, and weighs just 1 pound, 13 ounces. However, she is breathing on her own with a "very minimal" amount of supplemental oxygen.
"We're very optimistic of a very good prognosis," Tilden-Archer said.
Baby Susan is expected to remain in the hospital for three months, when she will return home with her father and 2-year-old brother, Peter. Peter has not been told of his mother's death and has only been told in general terms about a baby coming home soon.
"We thank all of those who prayed and provided support for Susan, the baby and our family,' Jason Torres said in a statement. "We especially thank God for giving us little Susan. My wife's courage will never be forgotten.
The Susan Torres Fund has received about $450,000 in donations to help pay for Torres' medical bills.
Susan Torres' funeral has not been planned, but her family already know what they will tell Baby Susan about her mother when she grows up.
"Her mother was tough and her mother gave everything that a human being can give for this baby," Justin Torres said. "We have a lot of stories to tell Baby Susan and when the time is right we'll let her know what kind of woman her mother was."