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Giving Kaden Back

January 24, 2014




I remember everyone holding him. My mom. My dad, rocking back and forth with Kaden in his arms. Sam looking down at him and crying. He had just taken his last breaths in my arms as I whispered over and over to him how much he was loved, oh how sorry I was that his little life was so painful.

His little head laid right where Preston took his last breaths on me.

All three of my sons died with my hands around them.

Then it was time to make decisions. I signed papers for an autopsy. Bella showed me drawings she’d done with the people from Child Life who came to help her. I remember thinking how freakishly normal it all was in the midst of Kaden dying.

What do you want to do – my dad asked.

I sat on the couch in his room and just rocked him back and forth. I knew I couldn’t do it forever but oh, how long I’d waited just to do it at all. 8 months. 8 months and so many ultrasounds and so many prayers and so many milestones and so many assurances and so many pictures and he was still dead.

I don’t understand.

He was so perfect. I did everything right.

We stood to leave and he was in my arms. A little blanket wrapped over him with tiny footprints. A hat on his head. He was cold and I wanted him to be warm. I didn’t want anyone to hurt him. Be gentle.

It didn’t matter now.

A nurse waited with open arms to take him. I placed him in hers and for a moment I thought – I can’t do this. I’m literally going to die, my heart is going to stop beating because it hurts so bad right now. I’m going to die. I uttered out this sound of pure agony as I bent to kiss his little face one last time.

Soon he’d be ashes. I’d never, ever hold him again. Never see his little eyes look into mine. Never see his face turn towards my voice. Never see him run and play with Bella. Never see Sam hold him or teach him to play ball. He’d never be in our home, not once. All the things we had waiting – we waited so long to buy them and we shouldn’t have because he wasn’t ever going to see them.

And I looked at the nurse as tears poured down my face and I sobbed because I was his mama and I was going to walk away. She said with tears in her eyes – thank you for letting me be a part of this.

So I reached out one last time and whispered, “Oh God, I wanted you so much, I’m so sorry, I love you so much sweet boy.”

And we turned and walked away.

2013-08-19 22.51.59


  • Alyssa L.

    January 26, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    My first son was stillborn in June 2013 at 28 weeks. I had not felt him move in a while and went in to get checked. I was naively sure that things would be fine. Innocence I’ll never know again.

    Then the words — “there is no heartbeat” — and my world came crashing down. I also had severe, non-symptomatic preeclampsia. After a day of labor, I held him, cold and silent, and had to give him back 24 hours after he was born. I’ll never know the color of his eyes. HIs ashes sit in my living room, a place that he never knew in life.

    Then, after various tests and consultations, we decided to try again, decided to choke back our fear and give it a go. Twins, we found out — two boys. So much joy, so much fear. I was closely monitored for preeclampsia and any other complications. Everything looked perfect. Absolutely perfect. At 27 weeks, both heartbeats were strong, nothing could have looked better.

    At 28 weeks — that dreaded number — I went in for a routine ultrasound and again heard those terrible words. Twin B did not have a heartbeat. I did not have preeclampsia. It was sudden, without warning, and without explanation.

    Then I went into labor at 30 weeks in October. Again, one son silent, cold, and only held for 24 hours before I had to give him back. His ashes sit next to his older brother’s. Even after an autopsy, there are no answers.

    The other son — Twin A — was in the NICU for 6 weeks before he came home. He is currently sleeping on my chest.

    I could almost accept my oldest son’s death in a way. He made me a better person and a better parent. It was a horrible, terrible thing. It was life-changing. But I was working my way through it.

    My second son’s death? I don’t even know what to say.

    I think that’s why your story has resonated so much with me. So may suffer the horrible loss and then have rainbow children. No one ever, truly thinks that they will lose a rainbow child, too. Nothing is certain anymore. It wasn’t before, after my first son’s death, but now… now there is not even a shadow of certainty.

  • Camila Mejia-Quintero

    March 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    This is actually the saddest thing ever. My prayers go out for you and your family. Stay strong <3

  • Ashley R.

    March 13, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Diana, I just came across your blog because of a fun post on Babble. But I like to think I was meant to connect with this. I too had to say good bye to my 15 month old son, as he lay on my chest and took his last breath. Your words are so poignant. It’s hard to find meaning in all of it, but somehow, all your little ones were here for a purpose and to provide you with a blessing. That’s all we can hold onto to help us ride through the waves of grief and pain. When we were in the hospital, we received some beautiful words from another parent who had to say good bye to their child. I always like to share it…he said “The pain is fixed. It will never go away or diminish. But joy; you can grow joy. And overtime, that joy will grow to where it will overshadow the pain.” Anyway, I will continue to read and stay connected. Much love to you and your family. You’re a beautiful woman and a beautiful spirit. Thanks for sharing that with all of us. xoxo

  • 6 Months in Heaven

    February 26, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    […] 6 months today, just a few hours ago, we let Kaden go to be with Jesus. […]

  • Brandy

    February 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

    I’m so heart heavy for you. I have literally bawled my eyes out over your story. Bless you and your family <3

  • Grace

    February 1, 2014 at 10:48 am

    My heart was ripped when I made to the first paragraph. I cannot imagine what you have gone through.

  • Jen

    January 31, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I read everything you write and somehow missed this one. I wish I could give you a million hugs and make this better. Your such a wonderful mommy!

  • Julie S.

    January 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I am crying right now reading this and I can not imagine going through any of this. Know that you are prayed for and thought of with lots of love.

  • Faith’s Lodge

    January 28, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    So moving. So real. We wish you peace in your journey of grief.

  • Angela Groninger

    January 26, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    <3 My heart feels for you Diana! Your blog is BEAUTIFULLY written and you took the words right out of my head. The feeling of your heart nearly stopping because of the pure agony you felt; like you yourself were about to die. I too had that feeling back on Sept 22, 2012 with our daughter Isabelle Grace, she passed away after just 4 SHORT days of life due to a congenital heart defect, called HLHS. It's been a long road of recovery for us all and my prayers and thoughts go out to you. Thank you for sharing such a personal time in your life with us all! Here's a link to my personal story: http://www.isabellesheart.blogspot.com

  • Lori Albert

    January 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Joyce, I wanted to let you know I feel your pain. I lost triplets at 20 weeks.

  • Tara Huls

    January 26, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Strikingly similar to my experience telling my son goodbye. Thank you for putting into words <3

  • Alisha @ Your Kid’s Table

    January 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    I am so sorry, so very sorry.


  • Katie

    January 25, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    This was one of the bravest things I have ever read.

    I love you.

  • Jackye Murray

    January 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Our youngest son and daughter in law just lost their first baby in November. He was a full term 8 lb 2 oz perfect little boy but the cord was around his neck when he was born. I know how hard this has been for all of us and I can’t imagine going through it 3 times! My prayers are with you and your family!

  • In Between the Piles

    January 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Tears were pouring down my face while I read this post. Oh, mama. Sending you hugs. And prayers.

  • Brooke

    January 25, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Love to you all.

  • Alexia @ Babies & Bacon

    January 25, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Sending you so much love. With tears streaming down my face know that you, Sam, Bella and all of your boys are always in our prayers. <3

  • martha

    January 25, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I’m crying for you and all my friends who’ve lost babies yet again. I know your fierce love for your children comes naturally to you, but it is still a testament to what a wonderful mother you are.

  • Faith

    January 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Oh Diana. I think of your beautiful boy often. Sending you lots of love.

  • Elise

    January 25, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Bawling. I wish wishing could change things. I wish the ache in each of our hearts when we read your words could take away a little of the ache in yours.

  • Delia

    January 25, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I am so, so, sorry.

  • Suz

    January 25, 2014 at 10:06 am

    oh the tears Diana. And for each one, a 100 thoughts & prayers for you & your family. Hugs!

  • lyzlenz

    January 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I love you and your family with all my heart. That’s all I can say. I wish you so much happiness. I hope for you every good thing.

  • Megan Kanicsar

    January 25, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Diana, you and your family are an inspiration to so many. The pain and loss you have experienced is for sure placing you next to Jesus himself in heaven.your angels are loiking down on you and they are greatful that you are their mommy,

  • Bernadette Gillespie

    January 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    HEARTBREAKING <3 I am so sorry, he was SO loved <3

  • Cindy Bell Thinnes

    January 25, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Oh Diana, my heart breaks for you all and we continue to pray for you, Sam and Bella, as you walk this journey. You are loved sweetheart!

  • Angie

    January 25, 2014 at 7:56 am

    I’m so sorry for the pain you and your family have been through. Praying for peace and healing for you and your family.

  • Kristin

    January 25, 2014 at 7:56 am

    It feels so trite and obvious to tell you that I’m deeply sorry for your losses, but I am. I can only imagine the pain of losing three children. My thoughts and prayers for peace are with you, Sam, and Bella.

  • Theresa S

    January 25, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I’m not one who cries easily but this did. So sorry for all the pain you continue to feel.

  • Shauna

    January 25, 2014 at 7:27 am

    I’m so sorry. <3

  • DavidJanis Steele Fletcher

    January 25, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    All I can say is that I understand. Our 9 year old son died in my arms 18 years ago after a 9 day battle for his life. I remember every moment just like it was yesterday. One breathe at a time is the only way I have made it .

  • Kim Smith Kuhl

    January 25, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Oh, Diana. I love you, Sam and Bella so very much. I don't think I tell you enough that we pray for you every day.
    (and now those who don't know we 'know' each other in real life are all "you LOVE them all?" Creeptastic.

  • Kathy G.

    January 25, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Tears. And prayers.

  • Kelley Skates

    January 25, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Oh God Diana. I am so sorry for the loss of your little angel. There are no words.

  • Krista

    January 25, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Oh Diana. I have no words, just tears and place in my heart and prayers for you and your family. This is just not fair. And I’m so very sorry.

  • Stacy

    January 25, 2014 at 4:25 am

    My heart was ripped in two before & now it’s shredded. It is unfair. Triply so. Thank you for sharing this very difficult, very private moment with the world. So much love to you…

  • Anne-Marie Lindsey (@DoNotFaint)

    January 25, 2014 at 1:21 am

    My beautiful friend. I don’t know what to say, except that I am always here.

  • Joyce Zecha

    January 25, 2014 at 7:23 am

    I started reading your blog probably more than a year ago, long before I became pregnant. I don't even know how I started following you but for some reason your posts just drew me to read and follow you. At the time I'd never experienced a lost but reading your stories made tears fill my eyes and my heart ache. I actually had to stop reading for a period because sometimes I couldn't take the pain you were going through. I'd tell my friends and husband about all the things that were happening to you and how very terrible it all is. Then a month ago, I lost my baby after 18 weeks. I birthed her and I held her. I didn't get to see her first or last breath but reading this brought so many of the same feelings and thought I went through that day .I still don't know what brought you into my life but now I know why – you have helped me be strong, start to heal, know it is ok to be sad, angry, cry…so I just want to say thank you!

    1. Lori

      January 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Joyce, I wanted to let you know I feel your pain. I lost triplets at 20 weeks.

      1. Joyce

        January 27, 2014 at 12:20 am

        Lori, Thank you. I am so sorry! I can only imagine your pain losing triplets, one is so hard.

  • Jaymi

    January 24, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    I am so, so very sorry. I think of you and your family so often.

  • Rachelle

    January 24, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    I’m crying with you. I’m so sorry.

  • Kara-Anne

    January 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I am crying for you. I am praying for you. I don’t know what else to say, but you are in my prayers… I know that God is hearing all these prayers. Praying for comfort for you today… x

  • Valerie

    January 24, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    My heart aches for you and your family as I read this. I can’t even imagine how you dealt with such a major blow and came out so gracefully on the other side. God bless you.

  • Elizabeth Lauro

    January 25, 2014 at 5:20 am

    I have followed you since the Babble pregnancy days, and I felt a kinship because we were the exact same number of weeks. I am in awe of the way you are walking through your grief, eyes open, not taking short-cuts. It is a testament to your love for your sons and for your daughter. I am not religious, I am still searching, but I pray for you and your family every day. Thank you for sharing.

  • WeeMasonMan’s Mom

    January 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    My heart just hurts for you. I’m so sorry that he couldn’t stay.

  • ruthhill74

    January 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I wish I had something to say, but I don’t. I have posted many times before, and all I can say is God be with you. I don’t know how on earth you keep going in spite of the tragedy. My prayers are with you.

  • Jenny

    January 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    You did everything right, and you still are. Kaden is so loved.

  • Stefanie

    January 24, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    It’s just so unfair and I hate it so much for y’all. Sending you love and keeping you in my prayers.

  • Stormy Seaworthy

    January 25, 2014 at 4:59 am

    I just felt my heart tear into two and I am shaking in tears. Bless you all. I am so sorry. Beautiful angel boy. My heart and prayers are for you tonight.

  • Amy Daniels Jones

    January 25, 2014 at 4:58 am

    I pray every day for you. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story and your grief with us.

  • Sandra Templeton Davis

    January 25, 2014 at 4:57 am

    Thank you for sharing one of the most painful days of your life…

  • Kimbrough

    January 24, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    Wow! Kaden and Sam look so much alike! I’m so sorry that these beautiful words have to be written. Think of and pray for you often.

  • Jessica Davies

    January 25, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Oh Diana I am crying with you <3 <3 <3

  • Amy Willis

    January 25, 2014 at 4:42 am

    It's not fair. I'm so sorry. All your boys knew you loved them though. Absolutely.

  • Christene (@Momma_Birds)

    January 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I am crying reading this, so beautifully put but oh so heart breaking to the core, especially for a mama. I am so sorry you are going through this again. I still remember vividly your post announcing that you were pregnant with twins and I’ve been following since. I don’t have the words, but my heart breaks for you and I can’t even begin to imagine the grief you are going through. All of my best to you.

  • Desiree

    January 24, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    He was loved…every moment…of every day. You are such a good mother!

  • Meaghan (@meaghangrable)

    January 24, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you for putting your experiences out there. Albeit hard, they tell people so much. My experience with Charlotte was different, but similar. Thank you!

  • Susan

    January 24, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I’m so sorry Many many hugs

  • Vanessa Lambert Fawley

    January 25, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Diana, I have silently read you for a long time, since you guest posted on HTB. I am struck by how amazing your love for your sons is; it come right off the page. I have nothing to say that wouldn't sound trite-not that I haven't done that already-but I think of you and your family often. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tricia

    January 24, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    There are no words. Please know that he’ll always be remembered. http://streamoftheconscious.com/until-we-meet-again/

  • Jessica

    January 24, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Oh, Diana. I am bawling. I’m so glad that you have this space to get this out. It is so unfair that you’ve had to go through all of this. Nothing I can say can make anything better but know that you are in my prayers a lot. I am so, so sorry.

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