Survivor Story: Born at 2 pounds, Jayden is now an active 3-year-old

September 16, 2014
Jayden, 3, and Avonlea Hernandez, 21.

Jayden, 3, and Avonlea Hernandez, 21.

Today, we begin a series called “Survivor Stories.” The series will feature stories of area residents who have overcome challenges in their lives, physically, mentally and spiritually. The series is being sponsored by All Access Care of Ludington. Located at 329 N. Jebavy Dr. in Pere Marquette Township, 231-425-4544,

Survivor Stories will run on the first and third Saturday of each month. If you have a story to tell, please contact Senior Correspondent Kate Krieger at or call/text 231-794-8402.

By Kate Krieger. Senior Correspondent.

LUDINGTON – It can be very exciting to find out a pregnancy, for Ludington resident, Avonlea Hernandez it was a mix of emotions. Avonlea was 16-years-old when she found out she was having a baby. Due January 9, 2011, Avonlea found out she was having a baby boy and she was going to name him Jayden.

“It was really hard being 16,” she said. “At times it was kind of scary, too.”

Avonlea suffered from a blood clotting disorder, so she was under the supervision of a doctor in Grand Rapids and at 32 weeks, she had an appointment to check up on her pregnancy status. She got to the appointment and was told her blood pressure was very high and she was suffering from preeclampsia and they were going to admit her to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

“I was going in for an appointment,” Avonlea said. “They rolled me over to the hospital next door. I wasn’t expecting them to say I was going to have a baby by the weekend.”

 Caption 2: Jayden Hernandez-Mendez, born at 32 weeks and three days at Devos Children's Hospital. Jayden is wearing a mask over his eyes while a  light shines on him to help with his jaundice.

Jayden Hernandez-Mendez, born at 32 weeks and three days at Devos Children’s Hospital. Jayden is wearing a mask over his eyes while a light shines on him to help with his jaundice.

Two days later, on November 13, 2010, Jayden Hernandez-Mendez was born weighing only two pounds and eight and a half ounces.

“I had him Saturday and that was supposed to be my baby shower,” Avonlea said. “He was so little.”

Jayden was placed on a CPAP machine for the next 24 hours to assist his breathing, but then he was taken off and could breath on his own. He also was on a feeding tube because he didn’t have the ability to suck on his own. He remained on the feeding tube for a while and was in an incubator the majority of his stay.

“When he could suck on his won, he was only eating like five milliliters each feeding, but that continued to increase,” Avonlea said. “He had to be able to totally suck on his own in order for him to leave.”

Jayden spent three weeks at Devos before he could go home. Avonlea said Jayden was very lucky to not have anything really wrong with him being born so prematurely. When Jayden left Devos, he weighed three pounds and five ounces.

“He came home December 5,” Avonlea said. “He didn’t even weigh 5 pounds. He was doing well enough that they discharged him, but when we got home we couldn’t take him anywhere but the doctor’s office.”

Avonlea stated that since it was December and the cold and flu season, when they did take Jayden out to the doctor’s office, they took him right in and he was seen and sent home as quickly as possible.

Avonlea said she was very happy that Jayden got to be home in time for Christmas, but the holiday was different because they didn’t get to leave the house with him to celebrate with other people.

all_access_sponsorship_100114Jayden wore preemie clothing and even those small sized clothes were baggy on him. It wasn’t until spring when Avonlea could start taking Jayden out of the house.

“The first time he went out was to the grocery store,” she said. “He just starred at all the lights. He hadn’t seen anything like that before.”

Currently, Jayden is a healthy, three-year-old boy who enjoys being outside playing n his bike, scooter and skateboard.

“He really likes sports,” Avonlea said. “He plays baseball, football and basketball, but he’s still little.”

Avonlea said that after about a year old, Jayden had hernia surgery and he also saw a speech and language pathologist, along with an eye specialist.

“Because he was a preemie, he had to see the eye specialist,” she said. “A lot of preemies also have to have hernia surgeries. Other than that, he was fine.”

Avonlea said that being a 16 year-old with a baby is a struggle enough, but having one at 32 weeks, can be even harder, but she wouldn’t change anything about Jayden.

“He’s a good boy,” she said. “He is very fun and entertaining and he’s starting to get even more imaginative. During those first three weeks, it was like watching him grown outside the womb.”

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