A widow has given birth to her late husband’s baby 14 months after he died unexpectedly from a heart attack.
Sarah Shellenberger was able to get pregnant with her late husband by using frozen embryos, and in May gave birth to baby boy Hayes.
Her husband Scott died of a heart attack in February 2020. Sarah had just completed an embryo fertilization at Barbados fertility clinic when she received the devastating news.
The couple had been trying for a baby and had been told the only way they could get pregnant was through IVF. But due to the staggering costs of this process in the U.S. they decided to travel to Barbados Fertility Center for the egg retrieval.
The couple, who married in 2018, had the first egg retrieval done in December 2019 and they found out it was a boy.
“For the first round, we ended up getting one genetically normal embryo and that turned out to be Hayes,” Sarah, an Oklahoma teacher, said.
“We found out just before Christmas that he was a boy. Scott and I were able to pick out names before he died and that was really meaningful.
“We decided to go back in February for another retrieval while I still had as many eggs as possible.”
Sadly, this time husband Scott, a science professor, couldn’t go with her because he didn’t have enough vacation time so Sarah took her mom.
After the process had been successfully completed, Sarah flew back to Oklahoma via Toronto but it was there that she was given some devastating news.
“When I landed in Toronto and I finally connected to the WiFi my phone was going crazy,” Sarah said, as per the Daily Record.
“I had all these text messages coming through – the first one I saw was from one of Scott’s co-workers telling me that they were all gathered here praying for Scott.
“I called his mom and she told me that he had had a heart attack and had been moved to the ICU and he had not regained consciousness.”
When Sarah arrived back in Oklahoma she rushed to the hospital to see her husband. She couldn’t believe her young and healthy husband had suffered a heart attack and believed he would be okay.
But doctors delivered the harrowing news that her 41-year-old husband was brain dead.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Sarah said. “There are no words to describe that feeling.”
Sarah decided she wanted to donate his organs and filled out the paperwork.
“On Friday, February 21 I had to go and say goodbye to him. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Scot donated his liver and kidneys, saving the lives of three people.
Six months after her husband passed, Sarah went to Barbados for the embryo transfer. A week later, she found out she was pregnant.
“It was our biggest dream – Scott wanted to be a dad,” she added.
“In our eyes, we have these two embryos that are already created and they are our children. To me, there was no other option. They are our kids.”
On May 3 she gave birth to baby Hayes with her mom by her side.
“Holding Hayes has been such good medicine for me and he has healed my heart in a lot of ways.
‘I have a purpose’
“It is bittersweet because I know that Scott would have been over the moon in love with him and it is hard to experience these things without him. I absolutely see Scott in him.”
The mom says she hopes to have another baby with her husband using the same process with their second and last viable embryo.
“It feels like things are starting to look brighter and that maybe my life isn’t over and I have a purpose.”
A new life can bring so much hope and I’m so glad Sarah was able to have the baby that she and her husband so desperately wanted.
Let’s show our support for this new mom as she navigates parenthood without her love by her side by sharing this story. We wish them both a very happy future.