KRISTIN

I grew up in the church and went to church school. I of course left the church, then come back, and repeat this cycle several times. It wasnt until my youngest son Casen was born that it all changed.

Casen was born in 2015 and immediately went into surgery and then the NICU. He was diagnosed with VACTERL and with having every letter we had a long road ahead of us. No one had a clue just how long it would be. Part of the VACTERL causes Tracheomalacia/broncheomalacia which is a floppiness of the airway. Because of this Casen died on us 17x before the only safe option was to give him a tracheostomy.

During all of his dying episodes I went to God asking why. Why is this happening to my baby? What’s the point of this? I constantly kept waiting for the call that said well Casen had another episode but we couldn’t revive him. It was the worst time in our lives. Feeling so helpless, so lost.

The night he recieved his tracheostomy I sat weeping on my kitchen floor praying for guidance, strength, comfort, etc. I felt a certain peace that night but 2 weeks later I got that dreaded phone call. It was the hospital calling to tell me Casen had another episode but this was the worst one yet. He was down for 7 minutes. No heartbeat for 5 mins and it took the full 7 mins for his oxygen levels to go back to normal. The staff worked so hard to save him even breaking his ribs to bring him back but we had no idea how this would wffect him.

I walked in his room feeling defeated and as I looked at Casen he looked back at me and smiled the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. I knew in that moment everything was alright. God got us through. Even in the hospital Casen would often look away and just smile or laugh and we always used to say his guardian angel is here.

We made it through the hardest 239 days of our life and finally brought him home. I knew I had to give him back to God as He had given him back to me so many times. I started going back to church and watching Casen raise his hands in praise, bow his head in prayer, and just listen to the message, I knew this is where we were meant to be. Casen has changed all of our lives and I thank God everyday for giving me the strength to get through the hardest time in my life and for sending us Casen.