Dad’s ‘heart froze’ when asked to choose between fiancée and unborn baby

Dad’s ‘heart froze’ when asked to choose between fiancée and unborn baby

A dad has shared the heart-breaking moment he was asked to choose between his fiancé and baby.

Michael Gerry Fotheringham McConnell, 33, revealed his partner Stephanie Brown ended up giving birth to their little boy in November 2021, who weighed less than a bag of sugar.

But their son Mickey died of health complications eight months later on July 24.

Last year, at 18 weeks pregnant, mum Stephanie, 29, started leaking amniotic fluid, a yellow liquid which surrounds the foetus, where they were booked in for further tests.

Upon arriving at the hospital, medics thought that their baby’s heart was “too big” – so the mum-to-be was referred to a heart specialist.

However, the scan revealed that the baby’s lungs were too small for his body and not in proportion with the rest of his organs.

Michael and Stephanie were given the tragic news that their son, who they later named Mickey, wouldn’t make it full-term.

In a bid to save their baby, the mum was asked to carry her pregnancy for a further six weeks, before being transferred to Wishaw General hospital to give birth.

Soon, Michael got the call no partner or parent wants to receive, as he was informed of a serious complication.

“The doctor that would deliver took me to one side and asked, ‘if push comes to shove, who survives? Mum or the baby?’,” Michael said.

“The room was full of midwives and doctors, who revealed the umbilical cord had collapsed, creating a dangerous situation.

“I was terrified when I saw all these people and their faces told me the severity of my woman’s condition.

“When I learned my fiancé’s life was in danger, my heart froze – all I cared about in that moment was her being OK.”

The couple suffered a miscarriage a few years ago and for them, this brought back a lot of traumatic memories.

Despite that, they wanted to deliver their baby boy – but many advised he might not make it.

Michael said: “Everyone was sceptical about his survival, especially as the weeks before his birth was a real strain on Stephanie’s body.

“I’ve been by her side through the worst and scariest times in my life and with her losing fluid, having to hold my boy in her body for six weeks – it was exhausting, physically and mentally.

“There was a good chance that the placenta had stuck on Steph’s stomach and bladder, the classical Caesarian was their answer to prevent this being a danger.

“There was so many people in the theatre and my heart was in my mouth the whole time.

“They took my boy away from the operating table and everything was quiet – all I remember is the first time he used his voice.

“We were in awe, it was so clear and loud. In that moment, the relief was massive.”

Stephanie gave birth to their little boy, weighing only 1lbs 3oz, in November 2021.

Mickey spent three months in the neonatal intensive care unit where he started to show improvement and was later moved to Forth Valley Hospital to be closer to home.

However, as the family prepared for their baby to come home, his condition started to deteriorate.

Michael said: “The doctors in the hospital were calling it ‘blue turns’ and were saying that he might not make it.

“To this day, we still don’t know the reason for his deterioration.”

Doctors declared Mickey to be on end-of-life care after his body became too big for his lungs.

Unfortunately, after a long and tough fight, Michaels and Stephanie’s baby boy died peacefully on July 24 in his mother’s arms.

Michael has paid an emotional tribute to his son, calling him his “wee warrior”.

He said: “My son, Mickey Robert Gerry Fotheringham McConnell has passed away.

“He fought a long and complicated fight, he died peacefully and painless in his mum’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 was suffering, now he’s at peace, shine bright my wee warrior.

“Rest in peace our beautiful son.”

Michael has applauded his fiancé for her determination and strength throughout the difficult time – calling her an “inspiration.”

He added: “Since having Mickey, she’s been amazing and has given that little baby much of her love and time, all while having home life to deal with – she’s truly inspirational.

“She hasn’t stopped with her efforts, but I try my very best to make her life as easy as it can be in these traumatic times.

“This has been physically, mentally and emotionally draining, as we’ve had sleepless nights and traumatic days – but we have been there for each other.

“The support we’ve received has been nothing short of amazing and we’re totally overwhelmed.

“I am organising a number of fundraising events to help raise money and awareness for families in situations likes ours.”

A GoFundMe page has since been set up to help support the family during this tough time.

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