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A pregnant mother decided to give birth to her son three months prematurely after not feeling him move for two days. Her quick decision saved the baby’s life.
After Jordyn Smith, 30, couldn’t feel her baby son, Jay, move inside her over a weekend, she rushed to the Pomona Valley Hospital, California, to get checked out.
Doctors discovered the baby was in distress because his heartbeat was faint and asked Jordyn and her husband, Eric, 32, to make a decision. They said they could perform an emergency C-section, but at 26 weeks, the baby was so small he’d only have an eight percent chance of survival, or they could let him grow bigger, which would render his chances of survival even smaller.
The couple opted to give birth immediately. Jay, now 13 months, was born less than 24 hours later, weighing less than one pound—just 14.8 ounces (approx. 419 grams).
Jay defied the odds and spent 173 days in hospital before going home.
However, after just six days at home, he stopped breathing and was blue-lighted to hospital where the doctors discovered he had liver cancer.
This was related to his premature arrival, and he spent a further three weeks in hospital and endured chemotherapy and an operation. He’s now finally cancer-free and home for good.
“We were given an impossible decision,” said Jordyn, a communications marketing specialist from Inland Empire, California.
“I was in survival mode, I didn’t know babies that old could survive. I didn’t know how dire the situation was until later on when he was given an eight percent chance.
“Bringing him home was magical, all I ever wanted was to have my kids together and healthy. For him to be released on such a magical day, Christmas Eve, it was a huge blessing.”
Jordyn became pregnant with Jay in November 2021, just one month after she married Eric. At the 20-week scan, Jay was measuring small, but the mom-to-be was told it wasn’t anything to worry about because her daughter, Tessa, now 3, was also small as a baby.
Then at 26 weeks, things changed for the worse, and she had to deliver Jay prematurely. Jay was born on March 29, 2022. He was born not breathing and was revived and put in an incubator.
“It was a wait-and-see moment to see if he would live or not,” Jordyn said.
Jay was on a ventilator for 28 days, during which he had a bleed on the brain and couldn’t be held. However, after being at home for nearly a week, Jay stopped breathing and was taken to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, California.
“He was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for three weeks,” Jordyn said. “He was being monitored by doctors when they found a mass in his liver. I was thinking ‘Why him?’ He had been through so much already and he has had to fight so many battles his entire life. He has just got out of the hospital and is now fighting another battle—it doesn’t seem fair.”
Jay had four rounds of chemotherapy starting in October 2022 to shrink the liver tumor before surgery in December 2022.
Doctors removed 50 percent of his liver, and his gall bladder, and were able to remove the tumor during a four-hour operation. Jay was in recovery for four days and discharged on the 2022 Christmas Eve.
“He had one final round of chemotherapy in January 2023 and now he is recovering,” Jordyn said. “Unfortunately, because of the chemo he now has permanent hearing damage. He is monitored very closely, we are praying that a relapse doesn’t happen.”
Jordyn described Jay as a “social butterfly” who is “very curious and alert about everything.”
“He is the happiest, silliest baby, it is amazing after everything he has been through,” she said. “We had a superhero birthday theme for his first birthday, it was so blissful to celebrate that day when we didn’t know we would get it.
“His nurse team was there to celebrate it was a very emotional day.”