Kaden’s mother seemed to be having a normal pregnancy, until May 13, 2011 when he was born 16 weeks too soon. As you can imagine, his unexpected birth was one of the scariest and most traumatic times for his parents.
When Kaden was first born, he weighed one pound, six ounces – small enough to fit in the palm of his mother’s hand. His lungs were underdeveloped so he could not breathe on his own. He needed a lot of immediate care in the first hours of life. That time was critical to his survival and without that care Kaden may not be here today.
For the next four months, Kaden and his parents spent day in and day out at several different neonatal intensive care units (NICU). The doctors were unsure if Kaden would make it. He was also nearly blind and endured three eye surgeries. The surgeries saved his eyesight, and, because of the specialized care in the NICU, his lungs began to develop. With the support of March of Dimes, which works to improve the health of all babies and provide help for families if something does go wrong, Kaden was finally on the path to recovery and a healthier life.
Kaden’s premature birth was an emotional experience – overwhelming, heartbreaking and exhausting. The healing process was an ongoing struggle for him and his family, but, regardless of the obstacles, Kaden now functions in ways never thought possible. His parents feel that every moment was worth it, especially when the day finally arrived for Kaden to go home.
“He’s amazing to me. He’s three years old and he’s my hero,” said Jessica, Kaden’s mother. “My life just wouldn’t be the same without the support we received; I have Kaden because of it. I will continue to speak out and help others.”
Today, Kaden is a typical three-year-old full of life and energy. He is an intelligent boy who loves reading, coloring, puzzles and spending time outside, especially collecting rocks.
His family will never take anything for granted again. They have learned that it’s truly the simple things in life that matter most. Kaden’s parents, Jessica and Kevin, hope that in the future no other family will have to go through this horrible experience and, if that time comes, they are always willing to provide support for those families just as they received. His parents are so thankful Kaden is here and they can share his amazing story. Kaden is one inspirational, unique and powerful boy with his whole life ahead of him.
When babies are born too soon, organizations like March of Dimes and United Way 2-1-1, provide families with a place to turn for information and support. United Way partners also ensure that young children with developmental challenges receive the care needed to make progress during the first critical years of life.
United Way invests in health programs and initiatives that work with results we can measure. Gifts to United Way allow individuals to lead healthier lives. We all win when children are healthy and given equal opportunities to succeed. This is one way United Way, Community Health Charities of New England, our partners and caring people like you, build a stronger community and create lasting, positive change for all of us.