I break my boy’s bones

But he doesn’t let that stop him!

Chat - - Inside - By Valo­rie Sals­man, 26, from Dal­las, US

Dis­cov­er­ing there was some­thing wrong with my pre­cious baby at my 20-week scan was dev­as­tat­ing. ‘His arms and legs are short. He’s grow­ing very slowly,’ doc­tors told me. Rushed to a spe­cial­ist, I felt so fright­ened. ‘It’s a form of dwarfism,’ the spe­cial­ist ex­plained, but he couldn’t give an ex­act di­ag­no­sis. The worst was still to come. ‘Your baby prob­a­bly won’t sur­vive af­ter birth,’ I was told. Doc­tors feared his chest wall wouldn’t be strong enough to hold his lungs. I was told to plan for a funeral, choose a cof­fin. But I re­fused.

My baby was still kick­ing. It was me and my son against the world.

Kaden was born in Fe­bru­ary 2012 by Cae­sarean, three weeks early. At just 4lb 1oz he was rushed to In­ten­sive Care. I didn’t get to see my tiny baby boy un­til a day later. His legs were bowed and point­ing the wrong way, but he was so cute. Three weeks later, doc­tors gave us Kaden’s of­fi­cial di­ag­no­sis. .

It was os­teo­ge­n­e­sis im­per­fecta (OI) – a brit­tle-bone con­di­tion so rare, only one in 15,000 ba­bies are born with it.

‘He’s do­ing well right now,’ doc­tors re­as­sured me.

But they kept pre­par­ing me for the fu­ture.

‘He’ll never walk, and is un­likely to sur­vive be­yond 5 years old,’ I was told.

They warned me his bones would break very eas­ily…

Kaden was 5 weeks old and still in hos­pi­tal when he had his first bro­ken bone. A nurse had been chang­ing his shirt when, sud­denly, his left arm stopped mov­ing. Amaz­ingly, he didn’t scream out in pain.

An X-ray con­firmed doc­tors’ fears. Kaden’s arm was bro­ken. Then re­al­i­sa­tion hit me. [ My baby is so frag­ile, I have to be strong for us both.

Once home, Kaden wanted to do all the things doc­tors said he wouldn’t be able to – mov­ing his head, sit­ting up. He kept break­ing bones, but was such a happy lit­tle baby.

The older he got, though, the

more he cried w when h he had a break. I’ I’d give him painkilling i me medicine and splint the limb straight­away, like I’d been shown in hos­pi­tal.

But lit­tle Kaden was so ac­tive, I wor­ried. Jump­ing off the sofa onto his bum could break bones in his spine. Even a cough or sneeze could cause a frac­ture.

He was prone to pneu­mo­nia be­cause his im­mune sys­tem was so weak, too. But the most heart­break­ing thing was when I’d ac­ci­den­tally cause a break by do­ing some­thing as sim­ple as lift­ing him up.

‘Mummy’s so sorry, but we’ll take care of it,’ I’d say with a smile and a kiss.

But when he went off to play, I’d cry with guilt.

Kaden al­ways knew when he’d bro­ken a bone.

‘I broke my leg, Mummy,’ he’d tell me, sob­bing.

In De­cem­ber 2014, Kaden, then 2, had rods fit­ted in his fe­mur and both tib­ias to help strengthen his legs.

By then, I had a new part­ner, Ben­jamin, 28. Car­ing and sup­port­ive, he knew I was wor­ried when Kaden started nurs­ery in Au­gust this year.

But we spoke to the staff, and Kaden ex­plained his con­di­tion to his class­mates.

‘You’ve got to be care­ful with me,’ he said.

He’s such a con­fi­dent boy, and is a huge su­per­hero fan. He loves Bat­man and Su­per­man.

‘I’m fight­ing the bad guys,’ he’ll say.

My su­per­hero!

Kaden’s 5 now, and has had over 40 breaks. Doc­tors want him to wear a body brace, but he hates it.

‘If his spine cur­va­ture gets worse, he’ll need a per­ma­nent brace when he’s older,’ we’ve been warned.

Though Kaden uses a wheel­chair at school, thanks to physio, he can use a walker at home. He has amaz­ing up­per-body strength, and also uses his arms to scoot around on his bum. He’s small but mighty, frag­ile but so strong.

His doc­tors have a dif­fer­ent view from mine of what lies ahead for Kaden. They think he’ll only live un­til he’s 23 or 24, whereas I think his fu­ture will be long and bright.

‘You’ll grow up and be what­ever you want to be,’ I say.

‘I want to be in the movies,’ he in­sists. And why not? To me, Kaden’s al­ready a su­per­star!

Even a cough or a sneeze could cause a frac­ture

Lit­tle big boy He may be tiny, but Kaden has a huge per­son­al­ity

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