Guest Column

My son was born three days before ‘viability.’ The hospital didn’t try to save him.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, we did our routine blood work and found out we were having a BOY! After many long talks and prayers we decided he would be Kailor Dean. Kailor means “little warrior.” Little did we know how much this was going to ring true for our sweet baby. At 15 weeks I woke up in the early morning having what I was almost positive was a miscarriage. Rushing to the emergency room and not knowing if there was going to be a little heart beating when we saw him was terrifying. 

After two more weeks and the bleeding continuing with baby boy still healthy and growing as he should, I was sent to a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist in the next town. Same diagnosis: “this just happens sometimes.” We were scheduled to return at 20 weeks to follow up, but the bleeding never stopped and my doctors and I were in shock that Kailor was unaffected. At 18 weeks, the diagnosis came unexpectedly during a routine ultrasound: a subchorionic hematoma reared its ugly head. They aren’t very uncommon, and most disappear by 20 weeks. Unfortunately, mine continued to grow instead of disappearing. 

“It increases your risk of a miscarriage,” I was told. “You should consider terminating this pregnancy.”

READ: My sons were born breathing at 22 weeks, and the hospital wouldn’t help them

But I wasn’t giving up on my baby. He deserved a chance; he was surviving against the odds! At our 20-week appointment with the maternal-fetal medicine specialist, he was not pleased with the size of the hematoma, and by now my body was wearing down. My hemoglobin was low, and I was just not a picture of health. He immediately sent me for blood transfusions because my hemoglobin was 7.2. (A normal range is 10+.) He said I would be admitted at 23 weeks to start the steroid shots to prepare Kailor for his early arrival. I was scared knowing my son was coming entirely too early, and after me fighting for my life, he’d be fighting for his. But we were ready, and I was determined to make it to the 23-week mark! We had made it so far and we weren’t giving up on him. 

Those next two to three weeks were the most frightening of my life. I was in and out of the hospital due to blood loss. Twenty weeks passed, then 21, then 22. I believed he was going to be the baby who made it, against all doctors’ predictions. The night that 22 weeks and four days rolled around, I suddenly got very sick and passed out at the hospital where I had been for three days. I got an emergency blood transfusion, which ended up being my last, for a total of 10. The magnesium drip was started to try to stop labor. I was in indescribable pain (the worst I had ever been). Pain medications didn’t touch it. I thought I was dying. But then, good news: the specialist said to transfer me, and that he was ready for Kailor and I at a different hospital’s NICU. I was thrilled even though I was questioning if we’d make it because I was unstable. 

Photo courtesy of Jessica Spradlin (Kailor, born at 22 weeks, four days)

A hospital 40 minutes away had accepted Kailor as a transfer, but the hospital where I was failed to do something as simple as a transfer. We waited nine hours, and Kailor was born while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. He was born completely in his amniotic sac and it took seven minutes for a doctor to rupture it, which was detrimental; it’s the equivalent of drowning. Even upon rupturing the sac, the doctor immediately issued a do not resuscitate order against our family’s wishes. 

Photo courtesy of Jessica Spradlin (Kailor, born at 22 weeks, four days)

His heart was still beating, by the grace of God, he was 1 lb. 2 oz., and 12 inches long. He was a clone of our youngest son and his daddy… but to my surprise, the hospital did nothing. They didn’t even try to save our son, because he was born three days too early, before the “viability” cut-off. Those three days cost my baby his life. We embraced him for 51 minutes until he passed in my arms.

We are broken and we miss him every single day. No child should be buried because of lack of medical care. No baby grave should be visited because doctors decided not to try. No family should feel pain so deeply everyday when their baby could have been saved. 

I fight for babies like Kailor. Your child is just as important as mine. I fight for 22-weekers. They ARE viable, and I fight for your family to never know this pain. These doctors and hospitals should be held accountable. 

Read more details at A Moment with Kailor.

Editor’s Note: This post has been edited from its original version, published on Facebook at A Moment with Kailor.

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