It all began in December 2013. The news of a baby was buzzing around our house. Our girls were so excited to have a new baby brother or sister, and we were overjoyed to be adding another love to our lives. Baby Casey was expected to join our home in late August 2014.
“Next Christmas we will have a new baby,” the girls would say. Where the new baby would sleep was always a topic of discussion. My husband and I would talk about names and dream of the things that we would do with our little love. Will he play golf? Will she look like her sisters? Will we be able to actually fit 3 baby seats in our car? I spent many evenings online shopping for baby clothes and dreaming of nursery colors. Our family of 4 would soon be a family of 5!
In March 2014 that excitement took a drastic turn. I went to the doctor for my 18-week sonogram. Jerry and I were so anxious to learn the gender of Baby Casey. The plans we had for our future came to a sudden halt when the doctor told us to see a specialist just to “take a closer look at everything.” That was not something that I expected to hear, and little did I know that my world was about to be rocked at that next appointment.
During this meeting, the neonatal specialists used words like “extremely rare condition,” “fatal birth defects” and “termination options.” It was all a blur. Our little babe was diagnosed with Body-Stalk Anomaly. He had severe deformities making life outside of the womb impossible. The list of defects was overwhelming and made me physically sick. My heart was shattered.
After getting a second opinion and knowing that I was in no physical danger, I chose to carry my baby boy as long as I possibly could. Plus, who are we to limit God if He wants to do a miracle? So, Jerry and I chose the name “Jeven” which means “Full of Life!”
Our family spent as much time with him as we could. Jeven spent a short 35 weeks with us, but we made the most of those! His favorite food was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he always got the hiccups after I drank root beer, and he preferred it when I laid on my left rather than my right. He had a strong heart beat, responded to his daddy’s voice and would press against the gentle pressure of his sisters’ hands.
In the early morning of July 19, 2014, the time had finally come when we were to meet Jeven. We went to the hospital with a sense of anticipation. We had been waiting to meet our little boy and yet I knew in my heart that he was already home and was resting in the arms of Jesus long before he would be placed in mine.
Jeven was perfect in his stillness. He was a beautiful 4 pound, 6 oz little boy. I held him, rocked him, sang to him, introduced him to his sisters and extended family, and then laid him to rest all within a few days.
In the years that have followed Jeven’s birth, I have been determined to make sense of our situation and the journey that God has taken our family. I still don’t know why he had to pass, but I have peace in the fact that our family is closer and stronger because of this road we have walked.
Jeven was a special young man with a God-given purpose. He had such an unexpected, beautiful impact on our lives. We may not be celebrating life’s milestones with him, but we remember him daily and tell his story at every opportunity.
He is also the driving force behind the launch of Joyful Morning and coming alongside families like ours to walk this journey together. Thank you for letting us share his story with you.
~Allison Casey, Mom / VP & Co-Founder