During the year leading up to Suheily and George Davis’ wedding, the then bride-to-be would sneak and take pregnancy tests to make sure she wasn’t pregnant because it was very important for her not to be pregnant before they got married.
“I had a secret stash and I wouldn’t tell George about it. He wouldn’t find the pregnancy tests until he would take the trash out,” she said with a laugh.
Once the Chicago couple married in November 2013, they weren’t trying to get pregnant, but they said they weren’t trying not to get pregnant, either. During their honeymoon in Puerto Rico, which doubled as a holiday opportunity to visit a lot of Suheily’s family, the newlyweds were surprised to discover that they were expecting their first child.
“I was a little scared because we’d just been married a month,” said Suheily.
The couple had no way of knowing that their early-Christmas gift would serve as a gift that kept on giving in ways they never imagined.
Aug. 27, 2014, marked Cadence Day, the day their baby-girl blessing was due. Now Cadence Day is more of a remembrance day because Cadence’s parents never got the chance to meet her. Her heart stopped beating a month before she was due.
Two days after a normal 34-week checkup, the Davises realized that something was wrong when they went to get 3-D-sonogram pictures taken of Cadence. Panic set in when the techs noticed that she wasn’t moving at all, even after attempts to nudge her to movement. The couple raced to the hospital and had Cadence delivered, still quietly hoping that they were wrong and she would pull through.
“Even until I pushed her out, I was holding my breath,” Suheily said. “I know that God can do anything, and maybe this would be that kind of testimony. It just didn’t really sink in at first that we would have to deliver her and that she wouldn’t make it.”
Dealt a devastating blow, a year later the couple is still grappling with the loss of what would have been the first grandchild on either side of their family. They find it hard to describe the emotional roller coaster—from the elated highs of prepping for parenthood to trying to reconcile her not being here.
So instead of a birthday cake and balloons, the couple marked the due date this year by creating welcome kits for other expectant mothers in need and asked that others share in being a blessing as Cadence had been to them. The formalized effort gave those who mourned Cadence’s loss a way to remember her.
“When we lost Cadence, it was like a community loss—our friends and families mourned so strongly right there with us,” Suheily said. “They were looking for something to do with that energy.”
And with Cadence Day, they found it.
The Perfect Cadence
With a nursery full of gifts from two baby showers and a third that was still planned, George and Suheily had been overwhelmed by how loved their daughter was.
“Some gifts were still unopened and others were still being delivered, and we wanted to make it a blessing for others,” George said. “She had so much stuff, and we wanted to make sure that someone could use it and that it wouldn’t go to waste.”
Born out of a loss, the Perfect Cadence launched on July 20, the same day they lost their daughter. The goal of the organization is to throw baby showers for expectant parents in need and to connect with other families who delivered stillborn children and give them an opportunity to donate nursery gifts, too.
“It’s a terrible club to be a part of,” said George. “This is a common experience that so many people have to deal with. While the Perfect Cadence is inspired by our daughter, it’s important that people know that it’s for everyone.”
They’re getting the details of their organization together, such as establishing their 501(c)(3) status and holding a fundraiser, Rhythm and Brews, on Oct. 12 at the Vice District Brewing Co. in Chicago to help jump-start the effort.
“We want to bring the people who have supported us together in person; it’s all been virtual up until this point,” Suheily said. “The goal is to raise enough money to host our first baby shower at the beginning of next year.”
A New Life
While planning their business this past year, they were surprised to learn of a new pregnancy, another Christmas gift. This one, they believed, was from Cadence.
It’s a terrible club to be a part of. This is a common experience that so many people have to deal with. While the Perfect Cadence is inspired by our daughter, it’s important that people know that it’s for everyone.
“It was really emotional,” Suheily said. “As excited as I am for [the baby], I do feel like Cadence played a part in sending him to us. I was a wreck emotionally until the day he got here.
“This pregnancy was more stressful, and I was more guarded. Initially I didn’t know I wanted to get pregnant again. I didn’t know if I could handle another loss,” she said.
The couple said that a lot of their friends didn’t know they were pregnant until the baby arrived, and those who did know gingerly checked on them throughout the pregnancy.
“The people around us were struggling, too, because they were super excited for us and the baby, but you can’t deny what happened before,” she said. “They were trying to treat this pregnancy as its own, but they were still living in fear every day, checking on me.”
“Approaching the anniversary of losing Cadence, it was really important to launch the Perfect Cadence that day,” George said. “It was still a sad day, and we spent it at the cemetery.”
They were unsure about doing a baby shower this time around but ultimately decided to have one. William Khari had his own plan, however, and arrived earlier than his Sept. 12 due date.
“I’m incredibly ecstatic that he’s here, and we’ll probably do a celebration that he’s here after his eight-week checkup,” she said. “It’s more emotional than I thought because sometimes when I look at him, I think about his sister and the fact that we didn’t get to do these kinds of things with her. It still hurts because it was just a year ago that we lost Cadence.”