From the tragedy of a pregnancy loss, Noa’s wings were born. Chelsea Patterson was a young woman living her life on the go – a makeup artist, daughter, sister and friend to many, her life was filled with joy. She found out she was pregnant on a Jamaican resort while she says she was “having the time of her life.” She got back home and immediately told her then boyfriend, and he met her with the same enthusiasm. What started out as excitement turned into worry when, eight weeks into her pregnancy, Patterson’s doctor told her that the growing baby inside could possibly have Turner Syndrome, a chromosomal disorder.
“The doctor said, ‘There is no easy way to tell you this and I am not going to sugarcoat it. There is no way this baby is going to be able to live outside of your stomach even if you carry it to term.’” The doctor’s told Patterson that due to the syndrome, her baby had a heart defect and a list of other problems that would cause a lot of pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, Turner Syndrome is a condition that only affects females and results when one of the X chromosomes is missing or partially missing. It can cause developmental and health problems that include heart defects, ovary failure, short height and abnormal kidneys.
You can’t prevent Turner Syndrome; it is caused by an error when the sperm meets the egg. Patterson’s doctor reassured her that there was nothing they could have done. The condition affects one in every 2,000 to 2,500 live female births, with more than 70,000 women and girls living with Turner Syndrome in the United States, according to the National Organization of Rare Disorders. “I spent the first couple of days crying. I went back and forth with emotions,” Patterson says. “I was very discouraged some days and the other days I was like I have to do whatever I can to make this work.”
This was a first in Patterson’s family so she had to look elsewhere for answers. She bought a heart doppler and checked her baby’s heartbeat every chance she got. In early November, before a doctor’s appointment, she checked her baby’s heartbeat and couldn’t find it. She didn’t want to overreact, but she texted her loved ones to let them know: “Don’t be surprised if we don’t get good news today.” Patterson miscarried and on Nov. 8 she delivered her baby girl Noa. Cremations for stillborn babies are usually free, but Patterson wanted to give her baby a proper homegoing with a service. While going over the costs of the burial, Patterson realized how much money it was going to take to see it through. The basic tombstone was over $1,000.
That’s when Noa’s Wings, Patterson’s eyelash company, was born. She says, “I always wanted to start an eyelash line, and I wanted to keep her name alive. The lashes are like wings and with her being an angel, it sounded really nice.” The eyelashes are mink and lightweight, and able to be used multiple times. The names – Warrior, Angelic, and Alluring – are meant to reflect how Patterson thought baby Noa would be. Nearly 50% of the proceeds are donated to families who need assistance with their babies’ funeral costs.
In addition to her lash line, she also created the blog Living for Noa to provide a place for her and others to share their stories of Turner Syndrome, miscarriage and the like. Patterson says, “Living for Noa is a safe space for me, and I want it to be a safe space for others.” In the future, Patterson plans to start a nonprofit to help mothers dealing with these circumstances and fund their funeral costs. She wants to spread awareness and let other mothers and fathers know that they are not alone. She says, “I can’t teach everyone everything, but I can teach you about Turner Syndrome.”