Walker Hayes and wife Laney share heartbreak of losing their baby girl during childbirth
Walker Hayes and his wife, Laney, went through an experience that no parent would ever want to live through; losing your baby. The couple lost their daughter, who was to be named Oakleigh Klover, at childbirth. The tragedy took place in the early hours of June 6, and now, close to three months later, the pair have finally opened up about their loss.
While their life has revolved around their six children, currently aged between three and 12, the whole family was excited for the arrival of their newest member. But on the day of little Oakleigh's arrival, it became apparent that something had gone very wrong.
Walker and Laney, who had been through six childbirths in the past, knew something was different this time around when Laney began to experience alarming symptoms and had to be rushed into surgery. Their baby, a girl, was delivered, but she died in the process.
Three months after the tragedy, Walker and Laney opened up about the heartbreak of losing their child. While speaking to People, he recalled the events that happened on the ill-fated morning of June 6. "'What do I do?'" Walker said he wondered and added: "'When Laney wakes up, how do I tell her? How am I the one to explain, it’s a girl, but you know, she died?' I knew that was just going to crush Laney."
But the reality of the situation was that it could have turned out significantly worse: Walker could have lost both, his newborn child and his wife that day.
The nurse, who delivered him the tragic news of his daughter's death further informed him about Laney's health and life, which was hanging in the balance.
The couple had, in fact, wanted a home birth for Oakleigh, but decided that was infeasible when the midwife who was monitoring the process realized that the baby's heartbeat had suddenly faded. Laney had begun experiencing nonstop contractions, and recalling the event she said: "Oakleigh was in my abdominal cavity, and that’s what all the pressure was," adding: "But we didn't know that then, obviously."
A rupture of the uterus had already cost Oakleigh — the name they chose for their daughter — her life, and it would almost cost Laney hers. Said to be an incredibly rare occurrence, the rupture meant that the baby was deprived of blood flow and suffocated while an attending obstetrician likening the scene to that of an 'explosion.'
"I remember going to sleep hoping the baby was okay," Laney said. "I had no idea I was in danger … I remember feeling like I didn’t think it was all going to be okay, but still hoping."
For Walker, the wait was unbearable. "I just waited," he said talking about those tense moments when he did not know if his wife would make it through the entire ordeal. "I really just hoped that this wasn’t going to be the worst day of my life, even though it kind of already was."
He continued: "Surgery just seemed to never end, and someone would continue to come to me and say things that I didn’t really understand like, 'We may have to use this much to replace this blood.' That is when I began to worry about my wife’s life, and of course, I’m freaking out."
A two-hour surgery and multiple transfusions would save Laney's life, and Walker had to wait for her to wake up in intensive care before telling her the bad news. But because she kept drifting in and out of consciousness, he had to get through telling her that their baby had died over, and over, and over again.
They did, however, decide to spend the rest of the day with their daughter's body at the advice of a stranger who had lost a newborn four years before. They were also joined by their 12-year-old daughter, and two of their close friends. A funeral service and burial for Oakleigh would follow a few days later.
The couple was also told that they could never have another baby again because of the risks of pregnancy posed to Laney's life. "I lost my last baby, and now I’m done?" Laney said. "That's hard."