Mom to Jayden Dayne

Born and passed April 29, 2004

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

My husband, Jason, and I found out we were expecting our first child after only 2 years of marriage. We both loved kids and couldn’t have been more excited!

My first trimester was a nightmare. I couldn’t keep anything down, not even water. I went into the ER for dehydration, lost 25 lbs in two weeks, and Jason had to carry me to and from the bathroom to bathe me. Through multiple doctors visits, baby seemed just fine. At exactly 12 weeks, the first trimester sickness left as quickly as it came on. I started eating everything in sight! Haha! It took me two weeks to regain strength enough to walk on my own. Having never been through this before, I assumed this was normal. I found out years later this was not.

Anyway, things started going good and I started to really enjoy my pregnancy. At 17 weeks my ultrasound was scheduled. Little did I know, this was about to change my life forever. This baby was the first grandchild on either side of the family so EVERYONE was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to find out what it was. We had 5 people with us at the ultrasound. We were nearing the end of the ultrasound and I kept noticing the tech getting a puzzled look on her face. Nobody else noticed and I feel like this was the first real presence of “mother’s intuition”. I knew something was wrong. The doctor came in and did everything over and then they both got quiet and started pointing to the screen. A few minutes later they grinned real big and said “Ok, so do you want to know the sex?”  “Well, they didn’t say anything so I guess everything is alright….Right?”, I thought to myself.

We found out we were having a boy and we couldn’t have been happier! I always wanted a boy and a girl and I wanted the boy to be older. I was getting my wish! I shared my concern of the tech looking puzzled with my family and they all said I was overreacting. I tried to push the thought out but just couldn’t. It kept eating away at me. The next day my OBGYN called and said he had the results of the ultrasound and that it had come back abnormal. My amniotic fluid was lower than it should be and he wanted Jason and me to meet at his office first thing the next morning. He said if we wanted to bring one other close family member it might be a good idea. I asked him why he couldn’t just discuss this with me over the phone and how was I supposed to go through the whole night wondering what is wrong?? He said it was better discussed in his office. All I could think about was that sinking feeling I had felt. I was right, I knew it. Something was wrong.

Jason and I got no sleep that night. We met with the doctor the next morning and took my mom with us. He started discussing the low level of fluid and what created amniotic fluid, the baby drinks the fluid and essentially urinates it back out. Low fluid meant the baby was taking it in but not releasing it back out so at that point they look at what kind of kidney issues the baby might have. Most commonly, the baby’s kidneys are cystic, so when they examined a closer view to see if that was case and how much blood flow was reaching them, it was discovered that the kidneys were altogether absent. My son was missing both kidneys and his bladder. This of course was not compatible with life.

He scheduled a level II ultrasound with a specialist to just confirm and make sure they didn’t miss anything. They didn’t. The findings were consistent with Potter’s Syndrome. The specialist was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and I am forever grateful for that. He took us in a little room with nothing but a table and a box of tissues on it and we discussed our options. There was a 50/50 chance that they baby would be delivered stillborn or full term live birth but only live a few hours, but as of right now the pregnancy would carry on as normal. Because I was keeping him alive through the umbilical cord, his body would not know that there was something wrong and neither would mine. If I did end up going full term with him, we would look like a normal newborn just a little underweight. Because of the condition, a medical abortion was an option and legal within our state. There was no way. You’re telling me there’s a chance that I could get to hold him for a few hours but instead I could abort? Not an option! I was going to carry this baby as long as I could, plus I always hung on to that hope that they were wrong and he would come out perfectly normal.

So now we had to cope. At 17 weeks I just found out I’m carrying a son that I will never bring home from the hospital, and if he passed after 20 weeks, by law we had to bury him. Because we didn’t know when he would pass and whether or not it would be in utero, instead of shopping for baby clothes we set out shopping for funeral homes and caskets. I had lost several loved ones in my lifetime but never anyone so little. I had no idea they had such small caskets. Learning about it so early prepared us for when the time actually came. We went through the major grief stages while he was still alive. The hardest one to deal with was the anger. Angry at other pregnant women when this was not their fault, angry at families that had 4 and 5 kids. Why did they get so many and I can’t even keep my one? Angry at all the news reports of mothers on drugs that had healthy babies but had them taken away. I put absolutely nothing harmful in my body before being pregnant or during and my child doesn’t have kidneys? How was this fair? But when the time came we were a little more prepared. You can never be fully prepared for losing your child but having some advance notice made the funeral arrangements slightly easier to deal with.

I carried him to 33 weeks before going into labor naturally. The doctors informed me they would not be trying to stop the labor for obvious reasons. I delivered a perfectly normal-looking newborn weighing in at only 2 lbs, 14 oz., Jayden Dayne Forehand. They rushed him off to visually check him and I heard a faint cry. That’s all I had prayed for was to hear him cry. They cleaned him up, told all the family to come in and that they would let us be. The doctor designated someone to come get him when Jayden passed, but I don’t know who it was. He was with us for 2 hours and 10 minutes. He started out in his mommy and daddy’s arms first, of course, but lived just long enough for the entire family to get some time with him before passing away shortly after returning back to his father’s arms.

Potter’s Syndrome occurs in approx 1 in every 10,000 babies and is more prominent in boys than in girls. Sometimes it is genetic but ours was not, and the specialist said our prognosis for having additional healthy babies was good. It’s been 8 years today and there hasn’t been a day gone by that Jayden has not been in my thoughts. My greatest fear as a teenager was to be told that I would never be able to have children, but never once did it cross my mind that I would have one and it wouldn’t survive. We love you Jayden.

You can contact Brande at

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  1. Thank you for sharing your story of your son Jayden. Your incredible story of the love you have for your son strengthens others. Thank you.

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