A 24-year-old Utah mother has penned a powerful open letter to doctors who told her to abort her baby after giving him less than a 15 percent chance of survival.
During a gender ultrasound appointment at 17 weeks pregnant, doctors told Nadine Shelley that there was little amniotic fluid surrounding her baby, but she was told to try and stay pregnant until 23 weeks. When that day came, doctors confirmed that her water had essentially broken and she had been leaking fluid for weeks.
Shelley was ordered on bed rest, with some doctors advising her to abort the baby due to the low chance of survival.
On Friday, Shelley posted a picture of her son, Brayden, with a letter sharing the same title of the first chapter of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
“All I could do was give him the best chance to live, and that was to keep him inside of me as long as possible,” Shelley wrote in “The Boy Who Lived.”
Shelley wrote that it was the “power of love” that kept her going during the 111 days she spent in the hospital trying to “bring Brayden home.”
“People can argue that I put my own health at risk in fighting for him, and that’s true,” Shelley wrote. She added that her health was given “first priority,” but that she “never came close” to dying.
Brayden almost died the day he was born, although Shelley said her “courage and determination” are what gave him life.
After he was born, Brayden spent 76 days in the NICU. Shelley had to wait a whole two weeks before she could even hold him.
“My head rested outside his incubator for hours upon hours,” she wrote, calling her car rides home during his hospitalization some of the most “dark and painful” moments of her life.
Shelley wrote the letter to “spread the word that fighting through difficult pregnancies” are worth it.
“He has hopes and dreams and a whole life ahead of him,” Shelley wrote of her son. “…His unconditional love and forgiving spirit speak to me through his eyes every day. It is the most rewarding feel I ever felt.”
As the story began to spread, others shard their personal stories as well.
“I love this. I had my son at 24 weeks, and we spent 7 months in the NICU. His 1st birthday was The Boy Who Lived” posted Facebook user Tony Renée Rodriguez.
Felicity Brown commented:
“Your story is so similar to mine. I was advised to consider termination at 20 weeks as my waters broke at 14 weeks but wasn’t picked up until 20 week scan. Twice weekly visits to hospital we made it to 36 weeks but the delivery ended up with us both in intensive care. My boy is now 30 weeks old and doing so well. You are so right hope does need spreading. I believe my little boy is here because of my hope and strength and fight to meet him. Well done to you and the fighting you are doing for your family.”
Celeste Steich shared her personal story as well:
“Your son has been given this chance because God has a purpose for his life. I tell my son that all the time. I know what it is like myself to be on bed rest. Spent 8 weeks in the hospital with a 2, 4, and 6 year old at home. I suffered from a subchorionic hemorrage. My son is now 11 and thrivng everyday. God bless you on choosing life.”