Mom to Kaden Leon
October 22nd, 2007
For the first few months of my pregnancy, Kaden was a happy, seemingly healthy little swimmer who loved music. I played songs to him with head phones on my belly and would turn the music up in the car. He would dance around in my stomach as the music played and it always made me smile. He seemed to be normal, healthy and perfect. I didn’t find out anything was wrong until I was around 5 months along in my pregnancy. I had an ultrasound and the doctor was concerned about the length of his limbs and was also worried about his facial structure. He told me about cleft lip/cleft palate and referred me to a specialist. All of that news was very frightening, but my love for my son had no bearing on his physical appearance and I was more concerned for him than anything.
When we arrived to see the specialist for a 3D ultrasound we began to realize how serious this all really was. By the look on the face of my ultrasound assistant, I could tell that things were not good. We were led into a room to speak with the doctor who proceeded to tell me us that our beautiful baby boy most likely had a genetic disorder. His little heart was on the wrong side of his body, he did have a cleft palate and he was not growing at the correct rate for his gestation. The doctor suspected Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18.
I had to get an amniocentesis that day and I was terrified. I was terrified of the needle, terrified that my precious little baby was going to die, terrified that I would not get to hold him in my arms and feel his little fingers wrapped around mine. I had dreamed of that moment all of my life and in an instant it seemed all of that could be taken away from me. I tried to keep a good attitude. I talked to my sweet little boy just like things were ok and tried my very hardest to keep from being stressed so he wouldn’t feel that.
When I got the results back I was called into my regular doctor’s office where I was told that Kaden had Trisomy 13. It was the most serious type (mosaic) and I was told he may not even make it through the pregnancy. I realized I may not have the opportunity to give live birth to the living little child inside my belly. I was devastated. I was given the option to try to carry out the pregnancy or to have an abortion. There was absolutely no question in my mind that I would take whatever time I could have with my son whether it be one minute, one hour or a lifetime.
I researched Trisomy 13 and found that there have been babies who have lived for short periods of time with the disorder and I hoped and prayed that I would have that chance. I just kept dreaming of his little fingers wrapped around mine. For the next few months I kept trying to stay as stress free as possible and just revel in the beauty that is pregnancy. I played music for Kaden and planned for his birth as best as I could. His due date was December 26th and I was so excited that he would be my little Christmas miracle. I unfortunately would not see that come to fruition.
On October 16th I noticed Kaden had not moved in at over 24 hours. I was very concerned and rushed down to the hospital to see if everything was ok. I knew how dire the circumstances were and waiting for them to find his little heartbeat was torture. Fortunately, they did find it. I laid there for a very long time just listening to that beautiful melody, his tiny little heart thumping away inside of me. It was truly magical. I fell into a peaceful sleep just lying there listening to the most beautiful sound in the entire world. They noticed that things were not totally right on the monitor, but once they knew about the Trisomy 13 they decided it was because of that and let me go home.
The next day was a very special one for me. I was feeling so much gratitude that Kaden was ok that I just spent the entire day talking to him, listening to music with him and loving him. October 17th is our special day.
On the 18th I noticed again that he wasn’t moving, but I was told that he might not move as much because of his disorder, plus he was still smaller than a baby would usually be at this age. I was still very concerned, but I didn’t go to the hospital that night. I figured I would wait and see what happened by morning. That night I had a nightmare about a child getting in a car accident and dying. It left me feeling ill and upset me deeply. Throughout the entire night I kept waking up and feeling my stomach, waiting, praying for Kaden to move inside my belly to no avail.
In the morning I decided it was time to go back to the doctor. I talked to my personal OB/GYN and went in to have an ultrasound at his office. I got there early and sat outside on the trunk of my car. I ate a blueberry bagel and told Kaden that no matter what happened, no matter what news I got I would always love him no matter what.
I went into the office and finally got back to the exam room. I was so scared. I didn’t know how I would deal with the news if I found out he had passed on. My wonderful doctor came over to me and began the ultrasound. It was brief and he was very honest with me. My son Kaden had passed away. He said it probably happened the day before. At that moment I knew why I had felt all the anxiety, why I couldn’t sleep and why I had the nightmare. It all made sense. Even my mom had sensed it the night before. She said she had felt my belly and had gotten a feeling she could only describe as cold. But even that night she was out buying a little present for him at the dollar store.
I talked to my doctor for a long while about what was going to happen and where to go from there. Then he just gave me some time to be alone and grieve. I cried, a lot. Then I called my mom and she rushed from work to come get me. Everyone tried to be so supportive, they even tried to take me out to eat, but I had no appetite. I was just empty. My son was still inside of me, so alive just two days before and now in heaven.
I had to wait to get into the hospital to be induced, live births take priority. It was hard to wait and to know that my little boy had passed away, but was still inside of me. I was still so scared. I imagined what it would be like to give birth. He was already 30 weeks, so close to full term. What would it be like to give birth? And when he was born, what would it be like to see him; to hold him? It was terrifying! But I knew with every part of me that I wanted to see and hold my beautiful little son no matter the circumstances.
They induced me on the 20th and after a long; long time I finally was ready to push him out on the 22nd. My OB had to break my water and things happened pretty fast after that. They tried to give me an epidural before, but it didn’t work. In the end things happened too fast for them to be able to fix it. The pain was excruciating and all I could think about was pushing him out.
Finally, my precious angel was born. My doctor handed him to me in a blue cloth. To this day I have never felt as much love as I did in that moment. He was my son. He is my son. And no matter the circumstances he was mine. I held him and looked at his beautiful long fingers and handsome long feet and tiny toes. I gazed at his precious little face. He was perfect. I didn’t see any of the challenges, I just saw my absolutely perfect baby son Kaden Leon. And I loved him, and continue to love him more that words could ever express.
I held Kaden for a long time and had the chance to take some pictures and say my goodbyes. Eventually, I knew it was time to let the nurse take him away. That was really hard. I knew it would be the last time I would be able to hold him in this lifetime; and it would be my last chance to really say goodbye. I kissed all his precious, tiny little fingers and toes and I told him I loved him. I watched as that sweet nurse gently lifted him from my arms and took my son out of the room.
The next week was filled with tears and questions, but the day of his funeral I got out of bed, took a shower and knew I had to be strong for him. I wrote him a poem and I was able to read it aloud at his funeral. I will always remember how much he loved music and how we shared that. I have had and continue to have many people who have supported me and lifted me up in this experience, but most of all I have to thank my wonderful, strong Mother who stood by me through it all, despite the fact she was hurting deeply too.
I now look back on the situation and know that everything happens for a reason and Kaden is happy and at peace. He will always be loved, always be cherished for the rest of forever! I know I will see him again someday and until then I just want to be the best person I can be until we meet again. I love you Kaden Leon!
You can contact Breonna at firstname.lastname@example.org