Kennewick newborn lived just 23 hours; family raising awareness

Kennewick newborn lived just 23 hours; family raising awareness »Play Video
KENNEWICK, Wash. -- It's heartbreak for a Kennewick family. Their newborn baby entered the world, and they had less than a day to spend together. The little boy had congenital heart defects that went undetected. The family is now raising awareness about one of the top causes of newborn deaths.

Ezekiel Barreras never got the chance to see the world. He didn't even make it out of the hospital. Ezekiel's life was just 23 hours long.

"That was the hardest thing ever. We were just so excited to bring our son home with us," said Ezekiel's mom, Aneyssa Barreras.

The baby was seven pounds and 22 inches long. The second he was born, doctors sensed something was wrong. His cry wasn't loud enough. Nurses flooded the room attempting to give the newborn Oxygen. But he was quickly transported out and flown to a Seattle hospital. Doctors found three heart defects. It was then they realized he wasn't going to make it.

"I just wanted to get there and be with my son so bad, and once I got there, I just held him so tight and I was crying. I just wanted my baby to know I was there for him," said Aneyssa.

Ezekial was born with congenital heart defects. According to The Children's Heart Foundation, it's the number one cause of birth defect related deaths. The cause is unknown in most babies with the condition. But the same foundation says nearly one in every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect.

"It was just hard to see my sister spending the last moments with him when those are supposed to be the beginning moments," said Aneyssa's sister, Adriana Barreras.

Aneyssa and her family held a fundraiser car wash all weekend long to raise money for memorial costs and to put a chunk of it towards a local organization that researches the fatal condition.

"Even after this car wash, we're not going to stop raising awareness and doing stuff. God has a purpose and a plan for everything, and we're gonna speak life and spread the word and just help everyone that we can help," said Adriana.

"When I do have my breakdowns, my five-year-old comforts me and says, 'Mommy, don't cry. Ezekiel's right in your heart, and he's in heaven watching over you,'" said Aneyssa.

The family raised nearly $2,000 this weekend. If you would like to contribute, they have an account set up at U.S. Bank under Baby Ezekiel Memorial Fund.