Breanna Star Swanson
Breanna Star Swanson was born December 16th, 2015 at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. This child was a miracle, a fighter, stunningly beautiful, perfect and loved beyond belief. Breanna came into our lives very early. She was born to her parents, Kelly Lynne Johnson and Brandon Scott Swanson of Oklahoma City, at 25 weeks gestation, though she had quit growing in the womb at 23 weeks. She weighed slightly more than 1 pound WITH her umbilical cord. A few days following her birth, she was flown to OU Children’s Hospital where she lived for the next six and a half months. Her parents spent every day with her. There were many ups and downs, but all the prayer paid off and Breanna went home in June of 2016. Breanna had many hospital visits post discharge, but was gaining weight and getting bigger. The constant battle her parents faced in her continued recovery was her lungs. The following months would be spent in quarantine with hopes of Breanna not getting any kind of respiratory illness or allergic reactions to trigger an asthmatic episode. Sadly, in the early hours of the morning following Easter, Breanna started having difficulty breathing, was coughing, and was having a very hard time recovering. She was rushed by ambulance back to Children’s Hospital where she tested positive for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and remained in the pediatric intensive care unit until her passing on May 8th, 2017. Breanna left our world in peace, comfortable, nestled in her mother’s neck (her favorite spot), and cradled by her daddy’s hands. Most importantly, Breanna passed without pain or suffering, and without any wires and tubes. Breanna loved music, colorful videos and soothing lights. She loved mama’s kisses on the cheeks, nestling in her mother’s neck and sitting on her dad’s leg and laying on his chest. She had a fierce, fighting spirit from day one. The lasting adjectives used to describe her have been “feisty” and “beautiful.” Breanna’s short time on earth has left a lasting impact on her family, the staff at the hospital, the therapeutic staff she had at home, and the hundreds of “friends” that followed her and her family’s journey. She is a constant reminder that children are so resilient and can put up a fight stronger than any adult. Breanna had beautiful blue, starburst stricken eyes and soft, whimsical hair the color of honey. She had delicate, chubby, pale skin that felt like satin and eye lashes for days. She had the most expressive face and communicated through her own unique sets of sounds. She is insanely loved by so many people and will never, ever be forgotten. Her family would like to take this time to extend a special thanks and appreciation to the following people and organizations: The entire staff at OU Children’s Hospital, specifically the NICU nurses and ELBW (Extremely Low Birth Weight) team, the PICU team, the geneticists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists, radiology, social services staff and countless doctors and residents that helped us get as much time as we did with her. Her legacy is a testament to the quality of care we received while in that hospital. The family would like to thank Dr. Scott Melson of Just Kids Pediatrics, for always going above and beyond as her PCP and for leaving his job the day of her passing to show support to her and her family, Dr. Janine Collinge for preserving her vision, Dr. Ashkan Abbey from Texas Retina for his amazing infant eye surgery that saved her retinas, Nikki and the wound care team at OU Children’s Hospital, Heather Jarvis, Stephanie Mallam and Holly Cole-Weber for always being so empathetic and patient while working with Breanna therapeutically at home and at the Children’s Center in Bethany, and Amanda McCurdy for providing social services care to our family and being such an outlet for resources as well as personal support. Our nursing staff: Natalie Enloe, Stephanie Plants, Kari Peterson Harkey, Kelly Simmons, Pamela Lanon Kuhlman, John Karlin, Kelsi Perkins, Meagan Luellen, Teri Canon Townsend, Marina Masters, Glen Waymel, Macie Caines, Suzanne Skipper, Emily Blackwell Fischer, April Keith, Jenna Kindle, Erin Parker, Barbara Buster, Jamie Kilpactrick, Dr. Atchley, Dr. Ivanov, Delena Brown, Emily Cope, Shana Peruti, Whitney Blundell, Taylor Sherrod-Corbin, Kelsey James, Lindsay Johnson, and Stacy Gray for the countless nights of support in those hospital rooms, for your courage to show vulnerability in your profession, sharing tears and listening, the kindness and hugs, and for taking care of our family and as well as Breanna. Also to the handful of you that made home visits to us for medicinal and baby-sitting support, thank you. A special thank you to the team at Mercy Hospital for taking care of Kelly and Breanna during her first two weeks of life. You are all exceptional RNs. The family would also like to extend immense gratitude to the Liddell Foundation and everyone who donated to Breanna’s GoFundMe. Without your generosity, the past almost 17 months would have been impossible. The family would like to take this time to raise awareness of Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that comes with just as many blessings as it does challenges.
Breanna was preceded in death by her grandfather Danny Johnson. Breanna’s memory will live on through her parents, Kelly Johnson and Brandon Swanson, her aunts and uncles, many cousins, grandmothers Lydia Johnson and Deborah Swanson, and her four beautiful half-sisters Makayla Skye Swanson 18, Caitlyn Raine Swanson 14, Jocelyn Chenoa Swanson 11 and Addison River Swanson 7 of Oklahoma City. Her memory will also live on in all of you who prayed for us and supported us along the way. The 509 days of her life were of purpose, of beauty and of lasting impact.
Brandon and Kelly must extend their gratitude to two special nurses: Kayce Sanders, without your patient and kind, maternal and welcoming spirit, the first night walking down the hallway of the NICU would have broken us. You were always so gentle with Breanna and without your home visits, Kelly would have drowned. You are a gifted nurse and an even more remarkable person. Thank you for your friendship and thank you for the heart you put into your job every day.
Chelsea Watson fought to have Breanna as her assignment the day she passed, even switching with another nurse who originally had her. She was outstanding, gentle, professional, accommodating, understanding, patient, thorough, and overall, she was present in the moment of loss every step of the way with the family. They would like for her specifically to know that they would not have made it through the difficult conversations, almost impossible decisions, and overwhelming heartbreak and pain without her there. You are an outstanding nurse and a very strong woman to be able to navigate through those difficult moments in your profession and we will never forget your gentle tone and your gentle hands.
Flowers can be sent to Matthews Funeral Home in Edmond, Oklahoma. The viewing and visitation will be Thursday, May 11th, from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. with a formal visitation from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Services will be held at Southern Hills Christian Church, in Edmond, Oklahoma, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, on Friday, May 12th, 2017. Graveside service to follow at Gracelawn Cemetery in Edmond Oklahoma.