As reported in September, Reverend Run of Run DMC and his wife Justine lost their newborn daughter Victoria Anne shortly after she was born. Victoria was born with her organs outside her body, a condition known as omphalocele. More information about it can be found here.
In an interview with Essence, Rev and Justine spoke about their tragedy for the first time, why they wanted film the birth for their MTV series Run’s House, how and why they’ve kept their faith and their plans for their next child.
Victoria’s premature birth (she was a month early) and her condition were not entirely unexpected for the couple. At the start of Justine’s second trimester, their doctor informed them that there was a problem with the fetus’ development. The two sought a second opinion and were told the same thing. Undeterred, Rev and Justine believed their faith would carry them through the pregnancy and they would have a miracle baby. Rev says,
We heard the doctors’ reports, and then we heard God’s report in our minds. We are real saved, sanctified, crazy church people. God can do a job! That is the type of believers we are. Yes, it hurt some nights. I cried some nights, worried and wondered some nights. But don’t tell me God can’t make this right!
No one else was told of the news except for their bishop because they didn’t want anyone else to be concerned and they were still praying for their baby to be okay. Justine made no mention of the developmental issue to the hospital staff either (she couldn’t make it to her usual hospital in time) because, "I was still hoping for my miracle."
Unfortunately, that miracle never happened. Victoria passed away an hour after she was born. Justine is grateful for that short but sweet time she had with her daughter.
I got to hold her. They dressed her in pink. She was so beautiful, and she had this amazing little clear sac with all her organs inside.
The MTV crew was present to capture it all as Rev called them up to come to the hospital. Wanting to give the family privacy and time to grieve, Mike Powers, VP of series and production development at MTV, told the crew to shut down production. However, he soon had to reverse that order. Believing that he could use this opportunity to show how tragedy can unite people and test one’s faith, resolve and courage, Rev asked Mike to resume filming.
He felt like the show was about his family and he could use this to teach the viewer more than just how to deal with a daughter’s graduation or a son failing his driving test. He could also teach about getting through the unimaginable with grace and the power of faith and family.
Six months later, the couple is still healing, but is also looking to happier times ahead with their unwavering faith. Victoria’s nursery remains untouched as the two plan on making it a home for the child they will adopt. Justine says,
We take for granted that we can just have a baby. But I couldn’t. Maybe part of the reason God let this happen is because He wanted us to adopt.
Rev and Justine have been married for 12 years. Rev has three children from his first marriage, Vanessa, 23, Angela, 19, and Joseph "JoJo," 17, and two sons with Justine, Daniel "Diggy," 12, and Russell "Russy," 10.
The third season of Run’s House will premiere on April 9.