After a few visits to a doctor in Tyler, we were sent to a neo-natal specialist at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. After numerous and detailed tests were performed, we learned that our Katie had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia (hole in the diaphragm). This caused her liver and intestines to move up into her chest cavity, squeezing her heart to the left side, inhibiting left lung development.

My Doctor, who was kind and attentive, wanted to be very cautious with this diagnosis so we could be prepared for Katie’s arrival. I was continually monitored for possible changes. We also had a pediatric cardiologist, who determined that Katie had all 4 chambers of her heart. This was wonderful news. However, we were still unsure about her lung development. My Doctor had arranged for an entire team of neo-natal specialists to be prepared for Katie’s expected arrival, on Apr 15, 2003. Everyone had already fallen in love with this little girl. At this point in my pregnancy, she had already beaten the odds of survival. We had obstetricians, pediatricians, a pediatric cardiologist and a pulmonary specialist ready in preparation for Katie’s arrival.

On Feb.14, 2003, however, my blood pressure became elevated and the doctor could not stabilize it. This was causing more harm to our Katie. A decision was made to induce labor, making Katie’s unexpected deliver premature. We knew then that Katie would have to be in the NNIC unit for a while, until she was stable and strong enough for surgery to repair the diaphragm. On Feb.15, 2003, at 9:23am, Katie Rene’ entered this world “screaming”, as newborn’s do, but only weighing 2 pounds and 12 ½ oz. She was her daddy’s first child and she was already making him a very proud father. She was so strong, but at the same time, so very fragile. Every specialist on the “team” was there to welcome our Katie. It wasn’t long before everyone was attached and doing everything they could to help her. We all admired our little girl’s fight for life.

Katie’s strength gave her daddy time to drive home and get our camera, so we could have pictures of her. Since she was in the neo-natal intensive care unit, I was unable to be with her 24 hours a day. Instead, John would visit Katie during visiting hours and bring back pictures for me to enjoy. On Feb.16, 2003, at 2:35pm, Katie managed to pull her breathing tube out. The doctors were unable to replace the tube or stabilize her vital signs. John and I decided this was Katie’s way of telling us she was tired and with her message delivered, it was time for her to return to be with God. Katie stayed strong long enough to show us that she loves us and for me to be by her side. Katie accomplished everything she was sent to do. So with her mission accomplished, Katie returned to God on Feb.16, 2003.

God gave her to us and this world for only a brief moment in time. Katie touched so many lives during my pregnancy and for her 29 hours of life. She gave her daddy something that he can always remember, the touch of his daughter’s hand. Katie took with her a lot of love and many hearts. So now, everyday, we remember that God loaned us a small child for a short time, to bring a very big message, in a very small, but powerful package, named…. Katie Rene’ Holden.

– Rene’ Kennedy

Glory Babies Group: Tyler