Like many couples, the Saechaos have tons of happy home videos of a squealing an almost 1-year-old baby boy – their son Raiden.
“He smiled with his whole face,” Raiden’s mom, Chrystal, said Monday.
“He was our miracle baby,” dad Steve Saechao said.
Raiden Saechao was a miracle to his parents because by being born healthy and full-term, he’d already beaten the rare kidney condition and other complicated health problems that killed three of his older siblings before they had a chance to live.
Now, his parents sit in a Lincoln home decked out for his first Christmas and mourn him.
“I miss him dearly,” Chrystal said.
His dad painfully recalls the incident they separated them.
“I was almost at a complete stop and then I was bouncing around, things moving around, jerking around,” he said. “I looked at him and he was just red and I just calling and calling for him to wake up but he didn’t respond.”
That’s what Steve remembers of a violent Dec.17 crash along Interstate 80 near Highway 65 – the five- car pile-up that ended up killing his only son.
“I just went down on my knees and I just prayed. That’s all I cold have done at that movement,” Steve said.
Aside from the horror of learning that their baby’s brain was swelling beyond repair, the Saechaos had to defend against early erroneous reports that Raiden was not in a car seat and that he died the night of the crash.
And much like the Oakland case of Jahi McMath, they say they also had to endure curt confrontations with doctors who wanted them to pull the plug.
“If your child’s there and you want more time and they want to speed it up for God knows what reason, you can tell them, ‘no, that’s not my wish,'” said Chrystal.
Finally, they found a UC Davis doctor who understood what they felt was right for their son.
The Saechaos, who embrace a wide spectrum of spirituality, brought in shaman and healers and harnessed prayers from all over the globe, until at 11:22 p.m. Sunday, five days after the accident, they say they heard from Raiden.
Chrystal says the spirit of her 9-month-old baby was letting her know, “he wouldn’t be able to fix the body. His time here was done.”
Raiden’s mother says she can accept and deal with his loss because she has no “what ifs” in her heart about trying everything to save him.
The Saechaos encourage every parent who has to face what they did to resist pressure for medical staff to end life support.
They say don’t ever be left wondering if there’s some remedy you left untouched.
If you have any information about the crash that resulted in their son’s death, the Saechaos ask that you contact CHP.