Unforgettable New Year’s Resolution: Hayley’s Profound Decision to Birth Ava, Offering Hope Through Organ Donation 💫❤️ #CourageousChoice #LegacyOfLove
- At her five-month scan, Hayley Martin, aged 30, received distressing news: her baby is facing a serious illness.
- Hayley’s daughter, Ava Joy, has been diagnosed with bilateral renal agenesis, a rare genetic disorder characterized by the absence of both kidneys.
- The mother-of-three from Hull has made the decision to continue with the pregnancy and intends to donate her baby’s organs to help other infants in need.
Ten days ago, Hayley Martin had a crucial meeting with her midwife to prepare for the upcoming birth of her daughter, Ava. In that conversation, typical expectant mother discussions about birth plans were intertwined with an incredibly heartbreaking aspect. Alongside their hopes and aspirations for the safe delivery of their much-desired little girl, 30-year-old Hayley and her husband, Scott, were faced with an unimaginable reality.
Amidst outlining the birth plan, they had to confront the devastating truth about Ava’s situation. Their beloved baby girl is afflicted with a rare congenital disorder, a condition so severe that Ava’s life expectancy outside the womb will only span a few fleeting moments. In this bittersweet meeting, Hayley and Scott navigated not just the anticipation of birth, but also discussions surrounding the heartbreaking prospect of end-of-life care for their cherished daughter.
Hayley, a mother-of-three from Hull, expressed, “All I wish for during the birth is to hold her. That’s my only desire because it’s the only time I’ll have with her.”
I’ve prepared a little sleepsuit with a hat and mittens, just like I did for our other three children. I wanted her to feel warm, cozy, and surrounded by love when she’s in my arms. I didn’t opt for a gown because it felt too much like a funeral,” shared Hayley, describing her thoughtful approach to preparing for Ava’s arrival.
Scott, a 30-year-old sales director, affirmed his commitment to be by his wife’s side. “During Ava’s precious moments, I want to hold her while she’s alive. If I have the chance, I’ll embrace her with a kiss and a cuddle. Yet, I believe it’s only right for Ava to pass away in her mother’s embrace, not mine.”
“Besides, I’ve already made up my mind—I won’t bid her ‘Goodbye.’ Instead, it’ll be a ‘See you later.’ I sense we’re both embarking on the same journey; it’s just that I’m taking the slower path, walking, while she’s soaring.
The story of Hayley Martin, a 30-year-old mother, and her impending birth to her daughter Ava is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. At her five-month scan, Hayley learned about Ava’s serious illness, bilateral renal agenesis, a rare genetic disorder that means Ava will only survive for moments outside the womb.
Hayley and her husband, Scott, faced an unimaginable situation during their meeting with the midwife. Amidst discussing birth plans, they were forced to confront end-of-life care for Ava, embracing the painful reality that their time with their daughter would be fleeting.
Hayley’s sole wish during the birth is to hold Ava close, dressed in a sleepsuit she prepared, ensuring warmth and love in those precious moments. Scott, determined to be there for Hayley, wants to hold Ava while she’s alive but believes it’s only fair that Ava passes away in her mother’s arms.
Despite the heartbreak, this extraordinary couple has chosen hope amid despair. They’ve decided that when Ava passes, her organs, such as her heart valve and tissues, will be donated to save other children’s lives.
Hayley expressed the agony they endure daily and the hope that Ava’s passing will serve a purpose, providing solace in knowing that Ava’s legacy will live on through others. The thought of saying “goodbye” to Ava is daunting, but the idea that a part of her can continue to exist in someone else brings comfort amidst the pain.
With a protective arm around his wife, Scott consoles her as she breaks down in tears beside him on the sofa, tenderly stroking her stomach. Hayley, visibly exhausted and pale, has just been discharged from the hospital after collapsing due to exhaustion and anemia 48 hours earlier, evident by her red-rimmed eyes and wearied appearance.
Their story dates back to their teenage years when they first met at 15 in school but lost touch over time. Fate intervened when they reconnected through Facebook in 2009. Within ten days, Scott made the journey from his family home in Epsom, Surrey, to visit Hayley in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. Their bond grew swiftly, leading to a lifelong commitment—they tied the knot in 2014.
“Our desire for children was one of the first things we agreed on,” Hayley recalls. “Coming from families with four children—my mum having four and Scott’s parents as well—I had always envisioned having four of my own.”
Hayley’s intuition nudged her with a sense that something might not be as it should.
“I told my midwife, ‘I don’t feel pregnant,'” she recalled. However, she was reassured that it was still early and not a cause for worry. Hayley sensed a difference; unlike her previous pregnancies where she showed early signs, this time her bump was barely noticeable, allowing her to comfortably lie on her front—an unusual experience.
Despite these feelings, Scott and Hayley remained enthusiastic as they headed for their routine 20-week scan.
“We were thrilled because we were about to discover the baby’s gender,” Hayley reminisced. “Scott was teasing about his ability to handle a third girl, and we were sharing a laugh.”
As the sonographer began the scan, Hayley’s intuition sharpened, signaling that something was amiss.
“The screen didn’t look right. There was no typical dark area around the baby, and I couldn’t help but cry,” Hayley recounted emotionally.
The sonographer brought in another doctor for further examination. Hayley overheard uncertain remarks like, “I thought I saw a kidney, but it might have been another gland.” Despite reassurances that it wasn’t her fault, Hayley felt a sense of desperation, wishing to understand what had gone wrong.
Scott added, “When they ceased scanning and mentioned taking us to a quiet room, I had a sinking feeling.”
In that private space, the midwife cautiously conveyed their suspicion: the baby might have renal agenesis—a condition where one or both kidneys are absent.
It sounds like an incredibly emotional and challenging time for Hayley and Scott. The lack of clear information about the diagnosis added to the distress Hayley was experiencing. The uncertainty must have been overwhelming.
Their daughter, Kiowa, displayed incredible perceptiveness by recognizing something was wrong when she saw her mother’s reaction. Her sensitivity in that moment speaks volumes about her empathy.
Returning home after such news is difficult. Hayley’s retreat to her room, seeking solace behind closed curtains, indicates the depth of her emotions and the weight of the situation on their family.
Scott’s immediate focus on being there for his family, taking care of household tasks and looking after the children, demonstrates his deep sense of responsibility and commitment. It’s a common response for many fathers—to hold back emotions in an attempt to provide strength and support to their loved ones during tough times.
Simultaneously, Hayley delved into research to comprehend the situation better. Discovering that a single missing kidney might allow the baby a chance, but bilateral renal agenesis, the absence of both kidneys, meant a fatal outcome—either the baby wouldn’t survive labor or would only live briefly after birth.
Following a sleepless night filled with anxiety, they returned to the hospital where the diagnosis of bilateral renal agenesis was confirmed. At that point, they were presented with heartbreaking options: terminate the pregnancy immediately or continue knowing the distressing outcome that awaited during birth.
It’s evident that the weight of the decisions overwhelmed Hayley, leaving her in a state of emotional turmoil. The thought of terminating the pregnancy haunted her, grappling with the idea of being responsible for ending her baby’s life. However, the fear of potential suffering for the baby if it survived added to her distress.
Scott, taking on the challenging task of informing their loved ones about the situation, held the fort at home while Hayley secluded herself upstairs, grappling with the enormity of the choice ahead.
After deliberation, Hayley emerged from her solitude with a courageous proposal—what if they donated their baby’s organs? It was a selfless idea to ensure that even if their baby couldn’t survive, a part of her could live on and help others. Surprisingly, Scott had been contemplating the same notion, underlining their remarkable unity in facing such a heartbreaking situation.
The emotional weight of their decision weighs heavily on Scott and Hayley. Scott admires Hayley’s courage for considering carrying on despite the immense pain they both feel. The prospect of living with ‘what ifs’ haunted them, and they found solace in the idea of giving their baby, now named Ava, a chance to impact others positively.
With the medical team supporting their decision, the waiting game began. A private 4D scan and blood test confirmed Hayley’s hunch—she was carrying a girl, whom she named Ava.
“This confirmation gave me a chance to call her Ava,” Hayley shared. “It means that when I meet her and bid farewell, I can address her by her name. It’s helped me connect with her, personalize things like clothes, and create a bond. I cherish the time I spend with her every night—bathing together, singing lullabies, and reading books. It’s a way to experience those moments I won’t have after she’s born.”
Hayley has a scheduled cesarean section in the second week of January, at 38 weeks pregnant. Although she had hoped for a natural birth, she prioritizes having some time with Ava, even if it means opting for a different birthing method.
Their preparations for Ava’s birth are filled with poignant moments and considerations. Hayley and Scott acknowledge the uncertainty surrounding Ava’s lifespan after birth, possibly ranging from a minute to potentially a few hours. They find solace in the medical assurances that if Ava experiences distress, she won’t suffer as they’ll administer morphine to ensure her comfort.
The couple plans for Kiowa, Layla, and Oliver to meet their sister soon after her birth, alongside Scott’s sisters. They’re given the opportunity to spend as much time as they need with Ava. Additionally, if they choose to donate Ava’s heart valves and tissue, the procedure needs to occur within 48 hours of her passing.
Hayley has sensitively explained the situation to her children, assuring them that Ava is very unwell and won’t be coming home but will be taken care of by her granddad in Heaven. She’s found ways for the children to communicate with Ava, like sending messages attached to balloons and cuddling a bear with a recording of Ava’s heartbeat. Kiowa understands the situation, while Layla, sweetly, offers her own comforting thoughts about seeing Ava in Heaven.
They hope that Ava’s organs can be donated, though they recognize that it’s not the primary purpose of her existence. It’s a gesture they see as a kind act that could help others, regardless of the outcome, and believe it will raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.
The Martin family faces the inconceivably painful task of organizing a funeral for Ava even before her birth.
Hayley expresses her wishes for the funeral, hoping for a display of pink, blue, and green—the color associated with kidney-related medical issues. She desires for attendees to release balloons carrying messages for Ava or for other lost babies, offering comfort notes to those grieving the loss of a child.
In honor of Ava, the couple is establishing a charity. Hayley stresses the need for specialized care and support for parents in similar heartbreaking situations—where they continue pregnancies despite knowing the inevitable outcome. She emphasizes the necessity for empathetic care tailored to these specific circumstances, aiming to provide resources and emotional support for those enduring similar journeys.
Amidst these preparations, Hayley and Scott treasure each moment with Ava, knowing the time is limited.
“With a typical pregnancy, you eagerly anticipate the day you meet your baby. But I want to delay it as much as possible,” Hayley shares. “Every passing second brings me closer to the heartbreaking farewell to Ava, never being able to hold her again.”
She admits feeling far from strong or brave, finding solace in Ava’s presence within her. However, she’s acutely aware that the impending moment of parting ways with Ava will shatter her world, marking the unimaginable pain she’ll endure.