Alicia Leonard-Lewis, Terry Lewis, and Kaidyn Lewis
Alicia Leonard-Lewis and her husband, Terry, dreamed of having a child. After the heartbreak of five miscarriages, Alicia finally became pregnant. She prayed that everything would be fine. But it wasn’t.
As Alicia prepared for a family vacation to Tennessee, her pregnancy took a turn for the worst. On August 7, 2010, at six months pregnant, Alicia felt like her water broke; she immediately went to Hurley Medical Center. Doctors decided to perform an emergency C-Section on August 10. Kaidyn Terrell Lewis was born three months early, was admitted to the NICU, and placed on a ventilator for 12 hours. He weighed 1lb and 5oz and stayed in the NICU for sixty-six days before being released.
During a time of fear and uncertainty, there was a relief knowing the hospital was equipped with the knowledgeable staff, support, and resources to help her son battle for his life.
Alicia explained how Hurley’s staff became an extension of her family, providing support and helpful information that kept her spirits up during a difficult time. “The care was exceptional and beyond belief,” said Alicia. “They were sweet and protective. They were Kaidyn’s surrogate parents when we weren’t around.”
For Alicia and Terry, they were at the best hospital for the situation they lived through. “We have great relationships with the nurses and doctors today and still talk to some of them,” Alicia said. “Every year for Kaidyn’s birthday, we go back to the NICU and deliver cupcakes to show them how much we appreciate them and how grateful we are.”
Today, Kaidyn is your typically 10-year-old who loves playing video games, going outside, and shooting some hoops. He always has big dreams. After being introduced to the world of Orthopedics, Kaidyn wants to grow up and become an orthopedic surgeon.
“He is always on the honor roll and is going into 5th grade,” Alicia said. “His teacher took him to one of her orthopedic appointments after breaking her ankle, and the doctor showed him bones and everything. He loved it.”
As Kaidyn starts to focus on future dreams and goals, he continually gives back to his community. He’s been the “face” of contests and campaigns for the Children’s Miracle Network at Hurley Children’s Hospital. For Alicia and Terry, it is great for others to see Kaidyn’s story of hope, coming into this world as a preemie, who is now a thriving, healthy, vibrant child with big dreams.
For others going through something similar, Alicia’s advice is to trust the doctors and nurses surrounding you. It’s not a job, but their passion. She adds, “trust the process and to keep the faith in any way possible.” Alicia and Terry, friends, and family were around, and their church supported them in countless ways, helping keep their spirits high when emotions and tensions peaked.
“Support is going to be your biggest factor,” Alicia said. She pressed that “Sometimes it takes someone who has already been there to help get you through the difficult times.” You also might need to surround yourself with people who will give you hard love and remind you, your child is in the best hands.
Kudos magazine Volume 6.2 By Tami Benedict