Nadine Shelley likes to think of her son Brayden as “The Boy Who Lived.”
The South Jordan, Utah mom said the description attributed to her favorite fictional character, Harry Potter, fits so well for her son. Just like the fictional Harry Potter, Shelley said her son Brayden was not supposed to live, but he did.
Shelley wrote a moving letter last week on Facebook about how doctors gave Brayden a less than 15 percent chance of surviving and how one doctor told her to abort him.
“We had a doctor tell us to abort the pregnancy,” she wrote online. “I personally did not feel like it was my decision to decide whether or not Brayden had the strength or capability to live. Brayden would decide that. 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. Everything we chose was to give him that chance.”
The bad news came when she was 17 weeks pregnant with Brayden. Shelley said doctors discovered that there was almost no amniotic fluid surrounding her unborn son. They told her there was nothing they could do other than try to keep Brayden in the womb until he was viable – about six more weeks.
“At 22 weeks and 6 days, tests confirmed that my water had truly broken, and I was admitted to the hospital on bedrest,” she explained. “Brayden would later be born at 27 weeks and 6 days, and stay in the hospital for 76 days.”
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Shelley said she and her husband almost lost Brayden right after he was born on May 2, but their tiny baby boy pulled through. He weighed just 2 pounds, 12 ounces at birth. The weeks after Brayden’s birth were not any easier than the ones before it. Shelley said she had to wait almost two weeks to hold him, and she felt heartbroken when she had to leave him at the hospital without her.
At the same time, Shelley said she would do it all over again to give a child a chance at life.
People that know me best, know that I am big Harry Potter fan. I grew up inspired that it was Lily Potter’s love that saved the life of her son. It was my belief in the power of love that got me through 111 days in the hospital trying to bring Brayden home.
… Although I did not die for my son as Lily Potter did, I gave my life for him. 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.
Later she added:
Life is hard, and there are lots of pregnancy stories that don’t have a happy ending. But I have talked with several moms that have lost their babies, and they all find comfort in knowing they did everything they could. That is what helped me get through my 5 week hospital stay away from my family. I would tell myself, I am doing absolutely everything I know how to do for this baby. And if that is not enough, then I can find comfort in knowing I did my best, and I can’t have any extra guilt because of it.
… 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.
She said her son is now an “insanely cute” little boy with dark green eyes and a big grin. Every time she looks at him, Shelley said she senses his unconditional love.
“He is my boy who lives,” Shelley said.