A tiny little boy who lived 33 days will be changing lives forever.
He started with changing his parents, Abraham and Britney Boekweg, and even though he is no longer physically here, the impact of his short life will reverberate. His name was National Abraham Boekweg.
His parents met in 2013 while Abraham was studying at Utah Valley University and living in student housing and Britney was working full time. They married in 2016 and settled in Payson, where Britney had lived most of her life with her father.
“I’m from here and dragged Abraham this way,” Brintey said. Abraham is thankful she did. He loves living in Payson.
Not long after settling into married life, the couple decided to start a family, but it came with complications.
After four years of heartache and four attempts at artificial insemination, it ended with one pregnancy that terminated at six weeks, in December of 2020.
“It rounded off a ‘really’ good year,” Britney said. The young couple next tried invitro fertilization. While almost 21 eggs were harvested, only one resulted in an embryo. That one embryo would be National.
“Sweet, perfect, Nash. He has been a miracle from the start and fought so hard to meet his parents,” Britney said. “I felt like I knew it was going to happen. I always tell Abraham that a mother knows. I thought, of course that one embryo stuck. It made sense. He was always supposed to be part of our family.”
Now expectant parents, the pregnancy had complications from the start, but they never gave up hope. Britney developed two subchorionic hemorrhages, and while they were worried, her doctors reassured them both that things would be fine.
“The doctors said it shouldn’t affect anything, a lot of women have those so not to worry. Everyone told me not to worry, so I didn’t,” Britney said.
The day before Valentine’s Day, Britney went to her doctor because she thought her water had broken. She was kept in the hospital overnight and doctors determined that her water had not broken. She went back to the hospital in early March because she was having contractions but was released.
Two days later, on March 7, she returned to the hospital because the contractions were not going away.
“I went in at 8 a.m. and Nash was born at 9:41 a.m.,” she said.
National was born at 24 weeks. He weighed one pound, five ounces.
“The first question we asked was what were the odds that he would survive. We were told 90 percent, so we were more optimistic,” Abraham said.
“We were at Utah Valley Hospital, so we knew he was in great hands,” Britney said.
Although reassured, the couple endured constant stress and worry, and found a lot of help and inspiration along the way, especially from their young son.
“When he wasn’t using his tiny hands to attempt to pull his feeding and breathing tubes out of his mouth, he was using them to capture the hearts of every nurse, doctor, and respiratory therapist in the NICU. He had the biggest personality and most definitely had opinions. He was heaven. He was complete heaven. I have never seen a baby even full term with so much life. He was feisty,” Britney said.
National had good days and he had bad days, and his parents always held onto hope.
“Despite even the situation we were in, we were so grateful that we were for the first time a family of three after trying for so long. He was everything we always wanted,” Abraham said.
National developed an inflammation in his bowels that was possibly started by an infection, so Britney said caregivers stopped his feeding to try and keep it from perforating. Before they went home that night National’s doctors told them they were worried for him.
“They told us they were worried, but we had heard that before,” Britney said.
At 2 a.m. on April 8, Britney’s phone rang. She said she had awakened five minutes before.
“I felt kind of empty, like it had ended,” she said.
Abraham and Britney arrived at the hospital a few minutes before their son passed. He did so in their arms. He lived 33 days.
In the weeks since, while grieving the loss of their son and grateful for his short life, there has been time of introspection and reflection on everything that transpired, and the many things they have learned along the way.
“We have had so many examples of people just reaching out wanting to help us,” Britney said. “Whatever faith we lacked has certainly been totally restored.”
And their gratitude for the staff at Utah Valley Hospital is immeasurable. “They are the most incredible people. I don’t know how you do that job,” Abraham said.
There will be a blood drive held in Nash’s honor on June 10 at Revere Health in Provo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in suite 201.
While the heartache they endured and continue to endure can tear couples apart, the experience has brought Abraham and Britney closer together, which Abraham said they discussed right at the beginning.
“That was something we talked about immediately. Just promise this won’t tear us apart. We didn’t think it would,” he said. “We were always friends first and good companions first.”
“Now we are just spending our lives celebrating Nash. We experienced what it is like to be parents for 33 days,” Britney said.
If there is anything they could share with other parents, Britney said it would be to celebrate the miracle of their children.
“We hope people hold their kids a little tighter. I would have loved to have had the opportunity to scold Nash for something he had done, but I never got the chance.”
As for the future, for Abraham and Britney in includes more children.
“We’ve never taken breaks. We will keep striving for the one thing we both want,” Abraham said.
“Nash was always going to be a big brother and that will happen whether he’s here to pick on them or not,” Britney said.
And in that way, feisty little National Abraham Boekweg will keep changing the world. (Davis is editor of Serve Daily.)
Editor’s Note: Britney and Abraham expressed a desire to capture the updates and memories of Nash they shared in “newspaper” style. The National Newspaper is found here.