Early in 2012 John and Susan Vanden Berg found out they were having a baby. On April 6 during their 12-week appointment the doctor ordered an ultrasound because they could not find a heartbeat.
The Vanden Bergs were told the baby had a heartbeat, but his heart, intestines, and liver were outside his body and this was not compatible with life. Susan was diagnosed as having a high-risk pregnancy.
The doctors requested that Susan come back every two weeks for ultrasounds and told her that one of those times the baby’s heartbeat would be gone.
Later the Vanden Bergs were told the baby’s heart was inside his body, but he had multiple defects including heart defects, and many people choose to terminate the pregnancy in this circumstance.
The Vanden Bergs had hope and said no, they would let God decide the future for the baby. The doctor requested they have the baby in Ann Arbor, Mich., because this was the best place to repair his heart defect.
It’s a boy!
They found out the baby was a boy, and they would name him Kaden, which means “little fighter,” not knowing if they would ever get to meet him on this side of heaven.
He was due Oct 18 but again things did not go as planned.
On Sept. 18 the doctor found too little amniotic fluid, which led to the Vanden Bergs flying to Ann Arbor, Mich.
They were monitored in the hospital doctors tried to wait as long as possible to deliver the baby, but his heart rate didn’t look good.
The Vanden Bergs were left praying that God would keep their baby alive.
On Sept 27, 2012, at 37 weeks, Kaden John Vanden Berg was born weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces. He was born with a cleft lip and palate, diaphragmatic hernia (hole in diaphragm), omphalocele (intestines outside body), double outlet right ventricle heart defect and two holes in his heart.
But his parents said he also had a fighting spirit, beautiful eyes and a strong hand grip.
They said Kaden has gone from “not compatible with life” to full of life in the past year. He was in Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor until Oct. 8, 2013, and now he is at Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls. The hospital plans to send Kaden to Children’s Care Hospital until home nurses are found.
Kaden has been through many trials in his 13 months of life, Susan said.
“He continues to amaze the medical staff with his ability to bounce back from adversity,” she said.
He is on a ventilator, as his lungs are underdeveloped due to the omphalocele and diaphragmatic hernia.
His omphalocele has been pushed in where he only has a little bit of intestines outside his body, where skin is growing over. He has a tracheostomy so the ventilator is more comfortable for him.
Kaden has had multiple surgeries for his heart, diaphragm, lip and palate, leaving his omphalocele to be repaired in Ann Arbor in approximately six months.
There could be another four surgeries for Kaden. He is still on the ventilator and his heart is not working as well as it should after surgery, but John and Susan are praying that his heart and lungs heal.
“When Kaden is feeling well, he is a very happy, playful boy,” Susan said in an email. “He loves to jump in his Jumperoo seat, listen to his mom and dad read books to him, and plays with chimes hanging in his crib.”
The Vanden Bergs say they are longing for the day when they can all go home together as a family.
They are in search of nurses to help take care of Kaden at home so they can finally be together at their home east of Hills.
They hope that Kaden will grow and thrive even more when he gets home.
Nurses can apply for the position of caring for Kaden online at universalpediatric.com.
A Note from John and Susan:
“We are thankful for the blessing of Kaden’s life and that God has carried us this far.
“Thank you all for the many prayers, cards and gifts. Please keep praying! We are praying for a miracle, that God heals Kaden so well and so quickly that everyone will know it was God who healed him. To God be the glory.”