May 28, 2019
Jameson Von Bank touched so many hearts during his short life.
His father, AJ, will never forget hearing him cry for the first time. His mother, Samantha, will always remember how calm and happy he was when she washed his hair. Their other son Colton will always cherish being Jameson’s big brother.
Due to a chromosomal abnormality, Jameson passed away after just 20 days of life. But with the help of Sanford Hospice, his family could enjoy every moment they had with their little sunshine.
Listen to a recording of Jameson’s heartbeat set to “You Are My Sunshine”:
This beautiful memento was recorded by Sanford Bismarck’s board-certified music therapist, Bobbi Jo Vandal. Vandal is a member of the child life team, and her services are provided at no cost to families thanks to the generosity of Sanford Health Foundation donors.
Every time Samantha listens to the recording, she remembers how strong her son was.
Not enough time
Samantha and AJ found out they were having a boy at their 21 week-ultrasound, but the scan also showed their baby had club feet and cysts on his brain, markers for a chromosomal abnormality known as trisomy 18. With more testing, the diagnosis was confirmed, and Samantha and AJ were devastated to learn most babies born with this condition don’t survive their first year of life.
With help from their physicians at Sanford Bismarck, Samantha and AJ decided to continue with the pregnancy and spend as much time with their son as they could.
“We knew any time with him would be better than none at all,” Samantha said. The family decided when their baby was born, they would only do what they could to make him comfortable.
On January 11, Jameson Lyle Von Bank was born via C-section at Sanford Bismarck. He didn’t breathe right away and just gave one little cry. The family didn’t know if he would make it and had a pastor waiting to baptize Jameson right away.
Then as AJ was walking with Jameson to the family’s recovery room, the newborn started to cry on his own.
“I realized at that moment just how strong he was,” Samantha said.
After just four days in the hospital, Jameson was able to go home to Mandan.
“Bringing him home was one of our memories because we weren’t sure we would have that as an option,” Samantha said. “We were beyond happy to have him home with us and just be with him, but it was still very scary and overwhelming.”
From Jameson’s first day at home, Sanford Hospice caregivers helped give Jameson the gentle care he needed.
“Our hospice caregivers were always there whenever we called and would come by whenever we needed them,” Samantha said. “It meant the world to us to have someone to help with our questions and concerns and to support the decisions we made for Jameson’s life. Having them gave us huge peace of mind during that time.”
AJ and Samantha had planned to marry in October but moved up their wedding date to include Jameson. Their hospice nurse Susie Johnson helped take care of Jameson so Samantha and AJ could get their marriage certificate and make their wedding a reality.
Samantha and AJ on their wedding day with their sons, Jameson and Colton.
Keeping his memory alive
On January 31, Jameson’s oxygen levels started to fall. With their hospice caregivers by their side, the family said goodbye to Jameson.
“There aren’t enough words to describe how amazing they were and how much comfort they brought to our family,” Samantha said. “We will forever be grateful to them and for all that hospice did for us.”
Today, the Von Bank family continues to cherish each moment they had with Jameson. They also have mementos to help remember their time with Jameson, provided by the generosity of Sanford Health Foundation donors.
Along with Jameson’s heartbeat recording, the family has a framed print of Jameson’s feet that hangs in their home and a Molly Bear made to match Jameson’s exact weight.
“We cherish these mementos, and they help remind us of him,” Samantha said. “They help keep his memory alive.”
Foundation donors help families like the Von Banks through the most difficult of times. Not only did donor generosity help provide infant bereavement support to the family, but ongoing gifts to Sanford Hospice helped make their experience the best it could be.