The Stuff of Life

Preparing for Goodbye (by Kaila Mugford)


Sanctity of Life Month post #8 – I don’t personally know Kaila but would love the opportunity to meet her someday. She eloquently tells the story of a very difficult time in her life and the struggle to desire God’s will over her own. You will be blessed by this, the last in the series of Santity of Life stories. Thanks for joining us this month.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.”  ~Psalm 139:16

“You do have options. You can still terminate for another four weeks. But you need to make a decision before then.”

The words stung. Especially since they were being said while the baby I had so long prayed for was making me aware of his presence with that little “thump thump” that takes a new mother’s breath away.

Only a day before, we had gone in for our routine 20-week ultrasound, that long-awaited appointment where most parents find out if they’re having a boy or a girl. If you make it to that point, all you have to worry about is if the baby is going to be positioned well enough to tell…right? As our technician scanned over my belly, I heard “this baby is hard to image.” She snapped picture after picture. It was okay, we didn’t want to find out anyway.

As we sat waiting for the doctor, we talked about our plans for this baby, and the future we were looking forward to. Around the time my husband was about to leave to get back to work, our doctor walked in. I’ll never forget her words, “There’s something wrong. And it doesn’t look good.”

Over the next couple days we met with specialists, and upon finding out that our son had heart and kidney failure, our ‘options’ were made clear. Keep the baby and watch him die shortly after birth, or terminate now. We were 20 weeks pregnant, and it would be illegal to terminate in another four weeks. Wait…what? It was still legal even at this point? We had no idea. I had always told friends that I had no idea what I would do if ever faced with a decision such as this. Now I know. My husband and I looked at each other, looked back at the genetic counselor sitting across

from us, and said, “That is not an option, please tell us what else we can do.”

Our doctors told us that because our baby had kidney failure, I would most likely go into labor in the next couple of weeks because he had no fluid around him. Our son was drinking his amniotic fluid, and it was being stored in his kidneys. I hoped for this, prayed for this…how long could we last not knowing when we would meet our son and simultaneously say goodbye?

As the days stretched into weeks, and the weeks into months, we became so attached to this tiny fighter growing inside of me. I started a journal to our son, Sam, so I would remember each moment we got to spend with him. We prayed to God to heal our son, but for His will to be done. That was a hard one. I wanted MY will, MY son to be with me. Why us?

After 4 months of waiting, Sam was born on April 30th, 2012 at 3:20 am. He weighed 6 lbs 5 oz and was absolutely beautiful. Our doctors had warned us and tried to prepare us for the horror we were in for, that he would be deformed or a stillborn. When Sam was born he had none of the physical anomalies we had prepared for, heaved out one big cry, and stayed with us for 50 minutes before he made his journey to heaven. He died in my arms at 4:10am.

I cannot imagine having made any other choice. I read book after book on making the decision to carry to term despite a fatal prenatal diagnosis. One thing in particular that stuck out to me carried the sentiment: if you found out your 5-year-old had terminal cancer and had 4 months to live, you wouldn’t say “just let him go now, I can’t bear the pain of spending another 4 months with him.” You would make the best of the situation and make sure your baby knew just how much you loved him.

And that is what we did. I can’t say it was easy, or perfect. I can’t say we handled everything as gracefully as possible. But we did get 4 months of a kind of love I’ve never felt. And God saw fit that Sam blessed us with 50 minutes of hugs and kisses and snuggling outside of me. We wouldn’t give that time for anything in this entire world, and we look forward to the day we are reunited in heaven.

 Kaila Mugford lives in Toledo, Ohio with her husband Jamey and their two dogs, Duke and Mopsie. They are very active in their church, CedarCreek, and experience the love of Christ every day in this amazing community of Christ-followers. They are expecting their second baby, (a healthy little girl!) in May 2013. You can find Kaila online at



Author: Kim Harms

I am a contributor at CT Women (previously known as Today's Christian Woman where I was a regular contributor as well). I blog monthly at and have freelanced for a variety of publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Thriving Family and Creation Illustrated. Cancer made an unwelcome visit in my breast in January 2016, and I am now working on a book about breast reconstruction after having gone through the insane process myself. My incredible husband of 18 years, Corey, is my biggest writing cheerleader and together we are having a ball raising our three growing boys; Carter 15, Owen 14 and Lewis 10.

2 thoughts on “Preparing for Goodbye (by Kaila Mugford)

  1. Thank you for telling your story Kaila. Sam’s life continually glorifies God as you, his parents, share your lives with others who may have lost all hope.

  2. I agree with Cala! I had people comment on my facebook page that your story helped them see the blessings in their life. Thanks for writing Kaila!

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