Mom to Hayden Michael
Born and died February 28, 2012
I found out I was pregnant the week before Halloween. I was 18 years old, and absolutely terrified. I’d been feeling strange for a week or so, and just had this feeling that I was pregnant. I took the test and was so scared when it came out positive; all I could do was stare at the test and mutter, “Oh. My. Gosh,” over and over. But during my pregnancy, I would look at my stomach and marvel that there was a life, a baby, a precious being that was mine inside my belly. My boyfriend and I fought for months over my decision to A) not abort the baby, and B) place the baby for adoption. He was of the mindset that we weren’t ready for a baby, but if I WAS going to have the baby, he didn’t want his kid to be raised by strangers. I was determined to place for adoption, and to find my baby amazing, loving, and prepared parents who were unable to have children of their own. I am not trying to glorify myself or sound self-sacrificing: I had been careless and irresponsible in his conceiving, but I was going to give my baby the best life I could – better than I could give him. I knew adoption was the right choice.
I told my parents the week before Christmas, and moved home soon after. It’s hard for me now to write about my pregnancy, because I was so excited, and yet so nervous about the whole process. I found out I was having a boy, and soon after, about 15 weeks, I felt him kick me. He was a very active baby, and often at night would kick the same spot over and over again. I would place my phone on top of my belly and watch it bounce as he kicked right under it, haha. I started looking at adoptive couples through LDS Family Services when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. I kept feeling drawn to one couple; they both had fertility issues and no children. More than anything I read about them, the feeling I got was of home, love, and a wish for a child. I knew my baby would be no less loved by them because he wasn’t biologically theirs. We started to exchange emails, and soon I let them know I wanted them to raise my baby boy and be his parents. They were incredibly excited, and so was I, and plans were made for us to meet each other and spend time together.
Three days later, I went into premature labor in the middle of the night. I woke up, cramping and bleeding, which became contractions and steady bleeding as my mom drove me to Banner Desert Hospital, where the high-risk pregnancy doctors and NICU team were. I was dilated to ten centimeters by the time I was checked into a room, and I was told I had a 95% possibility of delivering in the next 48 hours. The baby was only 21 weeks, and infants are not viable until 24 weeks at least. The hope was to stop my contractions and keep me on bed rest long enough for the baby to become viable. In spite of the labor inhibitors, the contractions never stopped. They were also unusually painful because I had a partial abruption, which caused the pain and bleeding. During the 36 hours of steady contractions and administration of different drugs, I always knew my boy was alive, and each ultrasound confirmed he was healthy, viable, and very mobile as he kicked his way up and down my hour glassed uterus.
I contacted my adoptive couple, to let them know what was happening and ask for their prayers. I felt, and still feel so sick that they had to go through this with me as well. I lay there, feeling the contractions trying to push my baby out, knowing that if he was born now he would not survive. And I felt him kick me so strongly after each contraction. He was saying, “I’m here, I love you, and I’m a fighter.”
My son was born at 12:36 a.m. on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012, and was given a short evaluation before he was placed in my arms for comfort care. I was able to hold him for most of his very short life. He couldn’t breathe at all, and was bruised from the stress of delivery, but still his heart beat for 10 minutes. I held him, and he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It stunned me, and still does…the power of those feelings, the punch of it into your entire body. He was MY child, and I was his mother. And I loved him so very much. I named him Hayden Michael, and gave him my last name. He was 21 weeks gestation, 11 and ½ inches long, and weighed 1.3lbs. He was born and died on February 28th, 2012.
It turns out I have an incompetent cervix, which is not something that doctors can test for, and you only know you have when you lose a pregnancy at around 20 weeks.
Life goes on, and what should have been Hayden’s due date (July 4th) is in my future. I miss my little boy so much, but have not ever regretted having known him. I would do it all again. I am scared for my future pregnancies, but I know that even if I were to lose another child, I would still choose to get pregnant again. There is nothing more beautiful than your child. I love Hayden, and am very grateful for the blessing he is to me. <3
You can contact Susan at email@example.com.