A heartbroken dad has opened up about the moment he was asked to choose between saving the life of his fiancée or his unborn baby.
When Michael Gerry Fotheringham McConnell discovered his fiancée, Stephanie Brown, was pregnant last year, he was thrilled.
The 33-year-old dad from Falkirk, Scotland, already had five children with his bride-to-be and this was to be his sixth.
But devastatingly, at 18 weeks, Stephanie, 29, started leaking amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord collapsed.
The couple rushed to hospital and a doctor took Michael to one side and asked him, if it came down to it, who would survive – the mother or the baby?
Michael said: “I was terrified. When I learned my fiancée’s life was in danger, my heart froze – all I cared about in that moment was her being OK.”
Despite the risks involved, the couple went ahead with the birth. As the baby hadn’t reached full-term, medics did what they could to help Stephanie hold onto the baby for another six weeks.
Michael said it was such an exhausting time for the family – both physically and mentally. He said there was a chance the placenta had stuck to Stephanie’s stomach and bladder, and a C-section was the best option to prevent the situation from becoming any more dangerous.
In November 2020, three months early, they welcomed their son, Mickey Robert Gerry Fotheringham McConnell, into the world. He weighed just one pound and three ounces.
Luckily, while both wife and baby survived the birth, sadly the family weren’t out of the clear. It wasn’t an easy start for baby Mickey.
He spent the first three months of his life in hospital, but his small lungs weren’t growing at the same rate as his body. Doctors later declared him to be on end-of-life care as his body became too big for his lungs to support.
Tragically, after months in hospital, he died on July 24 in Stephanie’s arms. The couple hadn’t even had the chance to bring their baby boy home.
Paying tribute to his son, Michael said: “He fought a long and complicated fight, he died peacefully and painless in his mother’s arms.
“He was the brightest star I’ve ever known. I’ll never forget the impact my boy made on this earth, he truly was a warrior.”
He is now organising several fundraising events to help raise money and awareness for families in similar situations.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to support the family during this challenging time and has already surpassed its target, raising more than £3,000 so far.
Stella Bauros, who set up the page, wrote: “Your donations could help towards funeral costs and help ease the cost of living, for 8 months having a child fight for his life left Mick unable to work much throughout. This funding will help them massively, the last thing you should have to worry about during a time ridden with grief is finances.”
She added that it would also help them give their child the 'send-off he deserves'.
Featured Image Credit: Jam Press
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