When Nicole contacted me she was pregnant with Kaden, and when she told me her story I knew I had to meet her family. The amount of strength and bravery this couple has is truly amazing and as the months went on I came to learn what a fighter Kaden is. Although I was not able to photograph Kaden as a newborn I had the opportunity to meet and photograph the Cloutier family when Kaden was 10 months old. I asked his mom, Nicole to write a brief summary of Kaden’s story so that I can share their amazing journey with everyone on my blog, so without further adieu here is Kaden’s story…..
At my 20-week anatomy scan we found out we would be having a very special little boy. He has a condition called Heterotaxy. Heterotaxy is a very rare birth defect that affects placement of organs. He was going to have major heart defects caused by Heterotaxy and probably many other issues. After we found out our little boys’ diagnosis we knew he would have to fight to survive; so we decided to name him Kaden. Kaden means fighter. At 39 weeks gestation Kaden was born by emergency c-section because his heart rate dropped. He was wisked off to the cardiac ICU. After many tests we found out that although his heart was very unique, he would not need open heart surgery for a couple months. We would get to take him home and wait for him to get bigger and stronger for his surgery. His heart is on his right side and his stomach is on his left so they are flip-flopped. He also doesn’t have a spleen, which plays a big roll in helping fight infections. He would also need a surgery on his intestines because they were mal-rotated. At 6 weeks old we handed Kaden over for his first surgery on his intestines. We were told to expect a 5-7 day hospital stay. Kaden did so well and was discharged in 2 days. One of his doctors gave him the nickname “Rockstar”. Over the next couple months Kaden struggled more and more with his heart. We were trying to get him to 6 months old before surgery but it soon became apparent that he would need it sooner. He wasn’t gaining weight, was very uncomfortable, and was constantly sweating from his heart working so hard. It was extremely hard to watch him struggle. At 4 months old we handed Kaden over for surgery a 2nd time. This time we knew that his heart would be stopped and the cardiac thorasic surgeon would fix 2 holes in his heart called an ASD and VSD. We expected Kaden to be in the hospital about 2 weeks after surgery but in true Kaden fashion, he was released early; directly from the ICU in just 5 days! He is our little Rockstar! Although he has to be followed by many specialists, he is thriving today. We are getting ready to celebrate his 1st birthday and he is a true fighter!