Mum who was advised to terminate her baby celebrates his first birthday


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

Nadine Shelley was strongly advised to abort her baby at 23 weeks - but she chose not to...

It's every mum-to-be's worst nightmare - to be told that there's something not quite right with your baby.

Depending on how serious it is, some pregnant women are even advised not to continue with the pregnancy.

One of those pregnant women was Nadine Shelley, who, at 17 weeks, was strongly advised not to continue with her pregnancy as the amniotic fluid inside her was leaking, endangering her baby's life and her own life.

Nadine was advised to terminate her pregnancy (Credit: Facebook/ Love What Matters) ©Facebook/ Love What Matters

Nadine, who is a paedriatric nurse, was able to understand exactly what it meant when doctors told her what was happening.

Speaking to the Love What Matters Facebook Page, she explained that her baby could have been born with "severe mental and physical disabilities", adding: "He would most likely be born blind, if he was born at all."

Her doctor urged her to terminate the pregnancy as it was life-threatening for her, too. But she understood why her doctor had recommended it: "As a nurse, I appreciated what she was telling me.

"She kept using the phrase '...To not prolong suffering'."

While a lot of parents may have turned to religion in moments like this, Nadine, also mum to three-year-old Elsie, couldn't help but think back to her favourite books - Harry Potter, "The boy who lived." That phrase went round and round in her head.

She explained that she understood what was happening, but she wasn't convinced: "But I wasn't having contractions. We were at 23 weeks. What if he made it just a few more weeks until a viable time frame?"

It was a monumental risk to take, but after talking it through with her husband, Garrett, they decided it was worth a shot.

Nadine gave birth to Brayden five weeks later at 28 weeks - only four weeks over the age of viability in he UK.

Hospital staff immediately took little Brayden to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as his first breath of air had burst one of his tiny little lungs to burst, sending him into heart failure.

He was placed in an incubator to save his life. Nadine and Garrett were only allowed to see their son from the doorway of the room initially.

But two weeks later, she was able to hold Brayden with her own hands. She said: "It was the best feeling of my life."

However, it was also a heart-stopping moment for the new parents, who could now see just how tiny and fragile their little boy was: "He was about the size of my hand, and I have small hands. My husband has large, burly man hands that just dwarfed little Brayden."

Whilst Brayden remained fragile and precious, wrapped up in lots of tubes and sensors, Nadine was able to touch and hold him. The first time she touched him, his eyes opened, his struggling breath eased up and his heart rate slowed down.

He could sense that his mother was there to protect him.

Baby Brayden was taken home after 76 days in the hospital. Nadine was tragically left with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but this was eased by bonding with Brayden.

She said: "Every time I looked at him, I was reminded of what we went through. But being with him, holding him and touching him... Those feelings were so much more powerful than the anxiety and the panic."

Brayden celebrated his first birthday earlier this month - proving all the doctors wrong. They were even able to take off his oxygen tank recently - something that health professionals said they wouldn't be able to do until he was at least three.

What a little fighter!

Have you or a loved one ever been through a traumatic birth or pregnancy? We want to hear your stories - get in touch by emailing us or on Facebook and Twitter.


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