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The Hays Family

In the fall of 2010 we learned I was pregnant after nine months of trying for our second child.  The pregnancy progressed just as nicely as the first.  But, 19 weeks into our pregnancy, everything changed.

On January 18th, 2011 we were scheduled for our 19 week ultrasound.  The initial screening appeared fine.  We saw a strong heartbeat and properly developing brain.  After that I wasn’t concerned with anything else except for the gender of my squirming little baby.  The nurse then revealed that we were having a boy!  Cody and I were both pleasantly surprised.  That excitement wasn’t dampened by the next set of words that would ultimately change our lives forever.  “I’m going to have the doctor complete the ultrasound…the limbs look a little short.”

The doctor arrived and began the ultrasound.  He then revealed the life changing news.  The limbs of the baby were about four weeks behind schedule.   I knew this growth lapse was critical.  After a period of silence the doctor shared his findings.  The baby’s arm and leg bones where short, and the thigh bones, in particular, were severely bowed.  The chest was bell shaped when compared to his abdomen.  The doctor suspected Thanatophoric Dsyplasia, a very rare skeletal disorder that is uniformly fatal upon birth due to respiratory insufficiency.  And, just like that the “fun” appointment turned into one of the worse days of our lives.

Our options were few on how to handle the situation.  In my mind I couldn’t fathom carrying this child another 20 weeks just to lose him after delivery.  We prayerfully decided to terminate the pregnancy.  Within 24 hours our son was on his way to Heaven.

I was scheduled for induction at Seton Southwest Hospital on Thursday, January 20th.  I could not understand how I was supposed to deliver an angel.  Entering the hospital felt almost shameful; I was so disconnected from this child.  But, God is good and he blessed me beyond measure.  It took 24 hours before I went into active labor.  During that time we were finally able to get a handle on what was happening.  It is truly the first time I connected with this baby, who wasn’t just a baby, but my son.

Luke Hudson Hays was delivered at 6:45 A.M. on Friday, January 21st, 2011.  He was nine inches long, weighed 10.3 ounces and was absolutely beautiful.  How could I have ever been afraid of this baby that I was now so madly in love with?  I actually questioned if we had made a mistake as I didn’t notice the skeletal deformities present.  I think that’s just a mother only seeing perfection in her child.

The hospital staff was amazing and they treated Luke with such dignity, just as if he were alive.  They carefully wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a tiny bassinet.  We were given ample time to hold and love him.  I treasure his tiny foot and handprints.  I’m so thankful for the thoughtfulness, love and support shown by the staff.

That afternoon it was time to say goodbye to our son.  Even though he was already living as an angel in Heaven, it was so very difficult to leave him.  We left with empty arms and a broken heart.

Luke Lives On is a means for our angel’s spirit to live.  Our box eliminates the empty arms a family may have when leaving the hospital.  The contents within will provide comfort and support to these heavy-hearted, grieving families.

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