6.02.2008

happy birthday landen

Sunday, June 1st, we celebrated what would have been Landen's 5th birthday. Marryn helped me make some cupcakes and we all sang "Happy Birthday" and blew out 5 candles. The girls both got a small present as well, just as if Landen were here with us. This is the first year we haven't been able to put out flowers and balloons on his grave, since we recently moved, but the first year that we had a "party" for him. We've decided to make this our little tradition, especially as Marryn and Reganne, are getting older, understanding more who Landen is. This was not a sad day. Just a special day.


I know that we haven't talked alot or told many people about our first child. It's not that we don't like to bring it up or talk about Landen, it's more that we don't like to make other people uncomfortable. We have found great peace through the gospel of Jesus Christ in the short life of our son. We know that this was the plan of our great Heavenly Father.

Landen Joseph was born full term, 8 lb 4 oz, after a seemingly uncomplicated pregnancy. I say seemingly because at about 35 weeks, I thought that my water had broke. I went in for an exam, and was reassured that I was fine. About 6 weeks later when I went in labor, my midwife tried to break my water to speed things up, only to find no water sac. In fact, she could feel the baby's head, full of hair. He was later born with very little water, and a head full of curly blond hair. Delivery was rough. I opted for the epidural only to find the hour of pushing horrific. His shoulders got stuck, which only made the pain worse, but he finally came out. I wasn't able to hold him at first, but he was kept in the room with us while he was cleaned up and given oxygen. Then before they took him to the NICU, I was able to hold him briefly. Never at this moment did we or any of the nurses and doctors expect anything more than just a rough delivery.

Within hours, the oxygen hood he was under was failing to provide him with adequate oxygen and he was incubated. Within hours of that, it was clear that it wasn't working as well. Soon a call was put out to The Children's Hospital in Denver and by that night, he was on his way there. Joey and I left the next morning and met with a specialist there. It was determined that he had Pulmonary Hypertension and would need to be on ECMO, a lung and heart bypass machine. In addition, his lungs were very small, a byproduct of low amniotic fluid. Landen was on ECMO for about a week, before taken off. He did well for a couple days, then started to deteriorate again. By this time the doctors knew it was probably something else that was causing the Pulmonary Hypertension. First test, a lung biopsy determined what they feared. He had Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia, a very rare and fatal newborn disorder. The air sacs and capillaries in his lungs did not line up and therefore could not exchange oxygen. There was nothing we could do for him and within a few days, we took him off life support at just 20 days old.

Losing Landen had proven to be the most difficult thing we have had to go through. But the worst may not be over. The cause of his condition is not fully understood or known, but it is thought to be a genetic condition, in which every child we have has a 25% chance of having ACD. Although new findings are questioning that, but not necessarily in a positive way.

11 happy thoughts:

Annie M. said...

Kelsey- He was a beautiful baby boy... I am glad that you have found a way to celebrate his life with your girls. I am crying thinking about how strong you are and how hard it must have been. I am happy that the gospel brings you such peace knowing you will be able to be with him again.

Kim said...

we love you! You are amazing!

Kim said...

Hey, did you take those pictures of Marryn and Reganne? They are awesome! Glad to see you are back to blogging!

Our Family Happenings said...

I think that is so neat that you do a little birthday for him every year. What a neat idea. I am sure that was the hardest thing you ever had to go through. Matt's twin brother and wife, they just lost their baby. She was full term and ended up giving birth to a still born. It is such a hard thing to go through I can't imagine it. You are so strong though and amazing!

megan said...

Kelsey~ Thank you so much for sharing this tribute to your beautiful son with us. What a beautiful angel God entrusted to your care. I remember when Joey was our Home Teacher and he told us, with so much pride and love, about each of his children. Knowing this I have always admired you as parents. Your love and devotion to your children is so evident.


I think that Landon’s birthday party is such a sweet thing. I am sure that Landon enjoyed his special day and he knows he has such a wonderful family. What a remarkable reunion it will be for your family one day. What a blessing it is to have the gospel and our knowledge of eternal families. Thank you for your example of faith, love, parenthood, and testimony. ~ Megan and Matt

The King Family said...

It is interesting to see the kinds of things that we go through. We don't always realize it at the time why it is happening to us but we always know there is a reason. We lost a baby too and it is still hard for me to realize and sometimes accept, but yet there is a peace there in knowing that is the way it was meant to be. I think it is so neat that you still celebrate and do it in a happy way. You are so sweet!

Emily said...

Oh Kelsey, my heart aches for you. I've always been so inspired by your attitude and acceptance of Landen's death. You are an amazing woman and mother.

How is the new house? Any new baby yet?

G'Ma Jean said...

Landen did have two pinwheels and a special windsock placed on his grave in honor of his 5th birthday. He will always be in my heart as my first grandchild.
XO G'Ma Jean

Kim said...

Kelsey
I don't know how you do it! Everytime I look at those sweet pictures I burst into tears! You are so amazing! I love you to pieces!

Elaine said...

We love Landen too, Kelsey. He really changed me. What a wonderful thing the gospel is, isn't it? It can bring us peace where there otherwise would be little of it. Happy belated birthday Landen!!

Melissa King said...

I can't believe that was 5 years ago. You guys are so great to still remember him like that. I am sure it is good for the girls too. He was so cte and what a reunion you will have some day.