Courtesy Nadine Shelley (SOUTH JORDAN, Utah) — A Utah mom who chose to fight for her baby’s life is gaining social media attention by sharing her inspiring story on Facebook.
Nadine Shelley, 24, of South Jordan, Utah, told ABC News Tuesday that she wrote the now-viral Facebook post titled “The Boy Who Lived” after she said doctors confirmed that her water had broken when she was just 22 weeks, 6 days pregnant. Doctors suspected Shelley was leaking fluid during her 17th week of pregnancy, but she was unable to notice it during that time, she said.
Dr. Matthew Wilson, Shelley’s OB/GYN of Granger Medical Clinic in West Valley City, told ABC News that although it’s rare for a woman’s water to break at 17 weeks, it could happen. When it does, the gradual leak could “easily go unnoticed” as there is much less amniotic fluid at 17 weeks, as opposed to a woman who’s water breaks at 39 weeks, he explained.
With a loss of amniotic fluid, Shelley’s baby was given a 15 percent chance to live and one doctor suggested she terminate the pregnancy, she said.
In order to spread hope to parents experiencing difficult times with their own children, Shelley wrote about her experience on Oct. 28.
“I felt inclined to share it,” Shelley said of the post. “I was so relieved at the great response I was getting because that was my motivation behind it.”
Shelley, a mom of two, said her second pregnancy took turn for the worse when her water broke at an early 17 weeks. It took five weeks for doctors to confirm that her water had, in fact, broken, she said.
“It was not good news for him at all,” Shelley said of her baby. “At 23 weeks, they told me I could do everything or nothing. So basically, abort or seek all treatment possible. We chose to do everything. We didn’t really feel like it was our decision to make. We felt that Brayden would make the decision if he was strong enough to make it.”
Shelley was admitted into the hospital at 22 weeks and six days. With her water broken, her child was not receiving the necessary amount of amniotic fluid, which aids in the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and the digestive system, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
“Each day, [the] stats got better but [they were] never great,” Shelley said. “We did have a great team that supported us, but we had one [doctor] that did not suggest moving forward [with the pregnancy].” That doctor told Shelley that her child could be born with mental and physical disabilities, she said.
On May 2, at 27 weeks pregnant, Shelley gave birth to a son, Brayden.
Brayden was born at 2 pounds, 12 ounces. He was intubated for over two weeks and spent 76 days in the NICU, Shelley said.
Shelley described the emotional time after Brayden’s birth in her Facebook post. The title of the story, “The Boy Who Lived,” was inspired by the fictional character Harry Potter, whose mother chose to die in order to save her son.
“Although I did not die for my son as Lily Potter did, I gave my life for him,” she wrote. “I gave up my everyday life (including raising our 2 year old daughter) and laid in a hospital bed for five weeks to give him the opportunity to live. And that gave him protection. The best possible protection, inside of me and receiving a mother’s love.
“I had to wait almost 2 weeks to hold my baby, my head rested on the outside of his incubator for hours upon hours. Days upon days. Many moms know how it feels to be discharged from the hospital without their baby, and it’s absolutely devastating. My car rides away from the hospital during Brayden’s 3 month NICU stay were some of the most dark and painful moments of my life.”
She continued: “Life is hard, and things won’t always go the way we want. But my message is, if I took those statistics at face value and chose to abort, I 100% would not have my Brayden to cuddle every night. But we chose to fight against all odds to give him a life. I would go through all that pain again to bring another life into this world.
“It is hard. But we are strong. And it is a fight worth fighting.”
Shelley credits the team of specialists who looked after Brayden during his stay in the NICU. Her “biggest cheerleader” was Dr. Wilson, she said.
“He is ecstatic for us and he really pushed for this,” Shelley said of her doctor. “He’s amazing and very personable and helped me see the hope in every step.”
Wilson is Shelley’s OB/GYN, but did not deliver her son Brayden. Since her pregnancy was high-risk, she required a higher level of care than Wilson could provide, he said.
“Nadine is a wonderful person, she’s a great patient [especially] when she was confronted with the challenges of this recent pregnancy,” Wilson said. “The most difficult part for the both of us was the unknown.
“I calmed her down and had a lot of long conversations with her to help her get all the information she could get. I applauded her for being very thoughtful and reasonable. She got a lot of opinions and in the end, we both agreed that wishing, waiting and holding out and hoping for a good outcome was the right plan to do. We were rewarded for her patience.”
Today, Brayden is 6 months old and has already defied so many odds, his mom said. While he’s still on oxygen, Shelley said he’s doing great and continuing to improve.
“He’s smiling and loving and he’s just adorable,” she said. “It’s just like my Facebook post said, if we chose to abort, then we would 100 percent not have him. If there was even a small percentage that we could have him, that was all the hope we needed. It was the most difficult thing, but also the most rewarding.”
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