Xander

My husband, Jay, and I found out we were pregnant in September of 2015, we had been trying for a few months, and could not be happier. The pregnancy was going great. I felt wonderful, and we could not wait to find out if we’d be having a baby girl or baby boy!!! In January we went in for our twenty week sonogram, where we would finally find out what we were having. Within seconds of beginning the sono, we could clearly see that we were having a sweet baby boy. My husband was beaming. Picturing all the things he would get to do with his son. We finished up, went into the exam room, and waited for the doctor. He came in a few minutes later and told us that he did not like what he was seeing in the pictures. That our son had a cleft lip/pallet, no nose, was missing part of his brain, etc…, It seemed like an out of body experience, and I think I had stopped listening at that point. He wanted us to see a specialist the following day to get a better look, and then decide if we wanted to continue with the pregnancy. We went to the specialist the next day where she confirmed all of my doctor’s findings, along with a major heart defect, problems with his kidneys, and other vital organs. She thought it looked like he most likely had Trisomy 13, so I asked what that meant for our little boy, and she said that it meant he would have a very short lifespan. “Short, how short?” I asked, and she said, “Maybe an hour.” Jay and I were devastated and heart broken. Both doctors brought up terminating the pregnancy, but my husband and I could not fathom shortening Xander’s already short little life. We decided to enjoy every movement, kick, and hiccup. With the knowledge we had, we could move forward with the pregnancy and not take one minute for granted. I wasn’t expected to carry Xander through the second trimester, but no one told him that. His heartbeat was strong through the entire pregnancy, and he continued to be extremely active. Towards the middle of my third trimester, my husband and I were put in contact with Kelly and Daniel, a very sweet couple that had gone through a very similar situation. They helped us in more ways than we knew possible. It was a blessing to talk to a family that had walked a similar path. As a co-founder of Labor of Hope, Kelly offered to help us. Labor of Hope found us an amazing doula that offered her services free of charge. She helped us with a birth plan, came to the doctor’s appointment where I found out I was in active labor, was with us at the hospital, and every step of the way. Eshelle was helpful with family, in the delivery room, and even after we delivered sweet Xander. She became part of the family and we are forever grateful to her. Labor of Hope also found us Megan, a passionate and talented photographer that was able to take pictures of our sweet boy in the hospital. Because we didn’t know if Xander would live for 8 minutes, 8 hours, or 8 days, she took beautiful photos in the hospital room before we delivered, during the c section, right after he was born, during his baptism, and stayed at the hospital for hours after his birth continuing to document his precious life. When she found out that we were able to bring our baby boy home with us, she came over and did a newborn shoot. We lost our sweet baby, Xander Xavier after 8 1/2 beautiful days. We are forever grateful for Labor of Hope. They have deeply impacted our lives, and while we pray that no other family has to experience a loss like we have, we are thankful that there is an organization out there like this to help.

- Hayley and Jay Martinez