Author: Jessica Spradlin, mother of 22 weeker angel Kailor, co-founder of TwentyTwoMatters and founder of A Moment With Kailor
Kailor was my fourth pregnancy and I had never experienced infertility or loss prior to Kailor. One day, out of nowhere, I just felt pregnant! I know that sounds crazy. But I spontaneously went and got a test and it was positive. I was in shock so I went and got four more, just to make sure! We were SUPER excited to be welcoming our fourth child! At 15 weeks, I woke up early in the morning having what I was almost positive was a late miscarriage. Rushing to the Emergency Room, and not knowing if there’s going to be a little heart beating when we saw him, was absolutely TERRIFYING. But as soon as the screen came up on the ultrasound machine, there he was healthy and kicking.
From that point on, I continued to bleed heavily causing my hemoglobin to bottom out several times. So, I stayed on strict bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. Towards 20 weeks, I started requiring blood transfusions to keep Kailor and I alive. I ended up having TEN transfusions total. When I originally started bleeding at 15 weeks, the doctors couldn’t find a cause for it. They kept saying that “sometimes this just happens,” that Kailor would be a spontaneous abortion and that I should consider terminating this pregnancy. Every time I went to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor, the outlook was very grim. Shortly after 20 weeks, we found out that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage that continued to grow and ended up being 8.2 cm. At that point, they told me my pregnancy would almost certainly be a miscarriage and that Kailor wouldn’t survive. But they also said that if I made it to 23 weeks, I would be admitted to start steroids and wouldn’t leave the hospital until Kailor was born. Even then, the survival rates that were given for that gestational age were very low and I was told he would have almost no quality of life.
On the morning that I turned 22 weeks and 4 days, I had been in the hospital for 3 days. The higher level NICU had accepted us and we were awaiting transfer. I was lying upside down in bed and felt the urge to push. Upon being set up in the bed, Kailor came out completely en caul (meaning that my waters didn’t break) and I had a full placental abruption. They immediately set him on the foot of the bed and didn’t touch him, leaving him in his sac to drown while I had no idea what was happening. The pediatrician on call informed me that a DNR (do not resuscitate) order was immediately being put in place and when I asked them to save him, I was told that “they didn’t do that there.” I was in absolute SHOCK! Kailor looked PERFECT. He was over 500 grams and looked EXACTLY like my youngest son. HE WAS ALIVE! They handed him to me to hold until he died. He had long fingers and toes and the most precious little chin. He lived for 51 minutes. When Kailor passed, the pediatrician returned to the room to tell me that, “He probably wouldn’t have had a life I would have wanted for my child.”
My child was LOVED & WANTED. I didn’t ask for a perfect pregnancy or child, I asked for Kailor.
Four months after Kailor died, I started my blog, “A Moment with Kailor,” as an outlet to vent. When I began, I had no idea the magnitude of people it’d reach or the amount of thriving 22 weekers we’d find and that would reach out to me. Along with the survivors, I also have found so many who suffered the same fate as Kailor. I started the “My Life Matters Movement,” featuring new surviving 22 weekers everyday. In June of 2019, I created a list of all the hospitals of babies featured, in an effort to help other mothers who may possibly go into labor and be told “we don’t do that here.” Now I work with TwentyTwoMatters, saving babies and helping mothers every single day. Some days it is so hard because the road of grief can be a messy one. I often feel like I’m in those hospital rooms with those mothers, begging for them save Kailor again. But I will never regret seeing 22 weekers THRIVE and saving 22 weekers that were given the chance Kailor was not. His legacy and little face is known and he is remembered. His life wasn’t in vain. He has made a way for me to do so much in his name. And I will forever fight for those just like him, to show the world these babies are viable and worthy of the help they are so often denied.
You can follow "A Moment with Kailor" on Instagram at instagram.com/amomentwithkailor , follow on Facebook at facebook.com/amomentwithkailor and support her fundraiser for other grieving families by donating at gf.me/u/w9xamn.