her for not wanting to go through any of this again.
But she wanted another chance at motherhood.
"The first birth wasn't routine," Leibe said last week. "This is a
Last September, Leibe's son, Aidan, died of a rare birth defect
called congenital diaphragmatic hernia, just 53 days into his life.
Less than two weeks after Aidan's death, Leibe and her family
marched through the streets of Disneyland, helping to raise more than
$2,000 for Children's Hospital of Orange County, where Aidan spent
his final days.
"I was still foggy-headed when I walked last year," Leibe said.
A more lucid Leibe joined the rest of her family -- they refer to
themselves as Aidan's Army -- to walk in the event and raise more
money for the hospital's neonatal care unit. They wore T-shirts with
Aidan's image and walked with a banner signed by family members.
"I wasn't sure if I was going to make it," said Leibe, who moved
from Costa Mesa to Newport Beach this spring.
But she did.
Cousins hugged her. Her husband held her hand. A stroller carrying
the youngest member of the family was a reminder of the heartbreaking
past and the hopeful future.
"We want to make sure everyone remembers Aidan," said Leibe's
cousin, Shannon Susanka. "We're celebrating a life while mourning a
passing of another."
Leibe said jokingly that she hoped the walk would push her next
child out into the world. The baby girl was due to be born Saturday,
but as of Sunday she had not yet arrived. Leibe said she planned to
have labor induced on Monday morning at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange
County, where Aidan was born.
Leibe said many of the friends she made at Children's Hospital of
Orange County were planning to visit her in the hospital during the
next week. That group includes Karen Stroud, a registered nurse and
case manager in the neonatal intensive care unit.
The two touched base this summer, when Leibe was an intern with
the Child Life unit at Children's Hospital. She graduated from the
program in July and is now a Child Life specialist, which gives her
the credentials to work full time at a hospital.
Elana TenHuisen, child life manager at Children's Hospital, said
Leibe was able to empathize with patients and their families at the
Leibe said she doesn't plan to work for a few months, but that she
would like to find a job at Children's Hospital eventually.
"I can't wait to go back," she said. "It's more than just a
hospital. My son was at CHOC. It's like my second home."
For now, Leibe wants to avoid the neonatal care unit, where Aidan
fought for his life. Friends and family are praying for a safe and
stress-free birth this time.
"We were thrilled she was able to move past a tragic situation and
turn it into a positive," Stroud said. "I know she is very excited,
but I'm sure she won't be totally at ease until she gets a baby in
* ELIA POWERS is the enterprise and general assignment reporter.
He may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or by e-mail at