NRL News

Couple start foundation after their little boy was born at only 24 weeks

by | Jun 17, 2024

By Right to Life UK

Parents of a premature baby boy born at 24 weeks, whose celebration of their pregnancy went viral, have started a foundation to support other parents of children in neonatal intensive care.

Arkell and Dana Graves went viral with a video that Dana posted of her revealing her pregnancy with a bag of burger buns and an ultrasound in the couple’s oven, signaling that she was pregnant with a “bun in the oven”. The couple had experienced four miscarriages and a stillbirth during their 17 years of marriage and only a few weeks after the couple lost one of their babies at six months gestation, they discovered they were expecting another baby.

However, they also learnt that Dana was experiencing dangerously high blood pressure.

“The doctor told me, ‘If you continue to carry this baby, you’re going to die’”, Dana said.

She insisted on continuing with the pregnancy until her unborn son had the best chance of survival, in spite of her doctor’s recommendations.

“She refused to go on with the delivery until it was a time where they could actually take care of him in the neonatal intensive care unit”, Arkell, the baby’s father, said. “I’m going to tell you, just looking at my wife, it was the most selfless thing I have ever seen somebody do”.

Baby Kaleb was born at 24 weeks gestation via emergency Caesarean section. Because he was born so prematurely though, Kaleb had a number of serious health issues. During his time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), he underwent heart surgery, had fluid drained from around his brain and was intubated for months due to chronic lung disease.

Despite all of his difficulties though, baby Kaleb managed to pull through and now his mum says that “everybody sees that he is a miracle – everybody recognizes it”.

Kaleb stayed in the NICU for nearly a year

During their struggles with their own extremely prematurely born son, the couple noticed other families going through similar difficulties to theirs.

“Going up there every day, and seeing others that were in need, we were a little fortunate to take care of different things”, Arkell said. “When we saw others that were less fortunate than ourselves, [and] when my wife brought up the idea to help others, I thought it was a good idea”.

The couple started the donation-based foundation Baby Buns 4 Life when Kaleb was still in the hospital. The mission of the foundation is “to educate, inspire, and provide support to the families of preemie babies”.

“I don’t care if it’s one day or 300 days, when you have a child in NICU every day seems like eternity”, Dana said. “I wanted people to have a sounding board and feel that they could come to someone to talk about [it] and have someone relate to them”.

The foundation provides parents with bags containing snacks, lotions and hand sanitizers, as well as catered meals, tiny outfits, hats and blankets.

Kaleb is now making good progress. He has ongoing health challenges, including cerebral palsy and tracheomalacia, but he continues to improve.

“I don’t see the deficiency. I just see a perfect little boy”, said Dana.

“I’m just looking forward to him progressing every day”, Arkell added “I just see so much changes in him every day”.

 Medical advances have left a contradiction at the heart of our abortion law

Due to his mother’s perseverance in continuing with the pregnancy, Kaleb was born at 24 weeks gestation, which is the current UK abortion limit. Had he been born one or two weeks earlier, he might still have been able to survive thanks to developments in medical technology. The survival of increasing numbers of 22-week and 23-week babies highlights a clear contradiction at the heart of our abortion law and current medical practice.

On the one hand, the law permits ending the lives of babies at 22 and 23 weeks, and, on the other hand, current medical practice strives to save the lives of many babies born prematurely at 22 or 23 weeks gestation.

At the same time, according to a recent study, there were a total of 261 babies born alive at 22 and 23 weeks, before the abortion limit, who survived to discharge from hospital in 2020 and 2021.

This means in the same hospital, on the same day, two babies at the same gestational age (22 or 23 weeks gestation) could have very different fates – one could have his or her life deliberately ended by abortion, and the other could be born prematurely and have a dedicated medical team provide the best care they can to try to save his or her life.

Spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said “How wonderful to hear that baby Kaleb is doing so well! It is touching too that his parents are finding ways to give back and support other parents going through a similarly difficult situation to them. Hopefully many parents of premature and unwell children will be practically and emotionally supported by this foundation”.

Categories: Premature babies