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When 26-year-old Valorie Salsman from Dallas found out she was pregnant, she and her then partner Kelby Casebolt were overjoyed. But their excitement was soon overshadowed by a fateful turn of events — in the fifth month of pregnancy Valorie's doctor discovered something very troubling during a routine ultrasound exam.
The unborn child's bones were shorter than normal and could hardly be seen on the ultrasound. Valorie's doctor sent her to a specialist and they soon received the shocking diagnosis. The baby suffered from a disorder called "osteogenesis imperfecta" also known as "brittle bone disease."
You can find out more about this brave little superhero in this video...
This genetic disorder hinders the development of bones leaving them as brittle as glass. The bones are so thin that they appear almost transparent on ultrasounds. In Kaden's case the doctors could already see that some of his underdeveloped bones showed signs of breakage — his little arms and ribs were fractured in several places.
The prognosis was devastating for Valorie and Kelby. Doctors gave their unborn son only a 5% chance of survival and told them that it was very likely that he wouldn't survive the birth. Even if he did, he probably would not be able to breathe on his own and would never be able to walk. Every further break to his bones would cause him immeasurable suffering.
After a long series of examinations the doctors recommended that the couple terminate the pregnancy. But Valorie and Kelby refused to give up so easily and put all their hope in that 5% chance. The doctors accepted their decision but advised them to make funeral arrangements as soon as possible.
Four months later little Kaden Casebolt was born. Despite the doctors' predictions he didn't even need artificial respiration. Valorie and Kelby couldn't have been happier, but they were also scared. Their newborn son was facing an uphill battle for survival and they knew it would take everything they had to help him beat the odds.
"I didn’t know what to expect but when he was born it was a dream come true. He started crying and we instantly knew he was going to be okay," remembers Kelby.
Valorie also remembers being overcome with relief: "We were told he wouldn’t survive the birth and that we should plan for a funeral, that he would never breathe on his own, that he would never cry and be in so much pain because of all his fractures. From the moment he was laid on my chest I knew he would survive and fulfill his life, and he is so full of life every day."
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