A funeral service for Israel Reign and Ezra Dean Blake Samson will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at the Pierschbacher Funeral Home in Chariton, Iowa. Memorials may be made in care of the boys’ family.
Little Israel Reign and Ezra Dean Blake Samson were born on October 29, 2022, to Jayden Samson and Olivia Van Kooten at MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center. They decided to come in the world early at 23 weeks and 3 days gestation, sent by ambulance from Pella Regional Health Center to MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center where they were born via emergency c-section.
Israel Reign was “Baby A” born at 3:28 p.m. weighing 1.1 lb. and 2 oz. and Ezra Dean Blake was “Baby B” born at 3:29 p.m. weighing 1 lb. 5.3 oz. Unfortunately, little Israel passed away shortly after birth due to post birth complications. He was loved so dearly even in the short appearance he made on earth.
Ezra kept fighting, and fight he sure did. After a month in the NICU at MercyOne Medical Center, the family transferred to University of Iowa Hospital due to Ezra’s condition of hydrocephalus caused by a grade 4 brain bleed.
Before getting transferred to U of I, little Ezra endured more than most adults have in a lifetime. He had pneumonia, chronic lung disease, countless IVs, TPNs, blood transfusions, along with other premature induced infections, overcame ROP, plus had many scans and labs. He endured 6 brain surgeries, along with an inaugural hernia repair. He acquired a grade 4 brain bleed caused by severe prematurity, which led to the transfer to Iowa City.
He was at MercyOne for a short time before being moved to the U of I. There, he learned how to need little to no oxygen support, going from being intubated to being on a CPAP of 4. He also passed his hearing scan, gained 9 lbs. from his birth weight, learned how to cry (we would call him a good communicator, because he was very opinionated and vocal), learned how to smile, and even learned how to rip out the NOVA oxygen tube and feeding tube. He gave the nurses a lot of scares and kept them on their toes. One time, he ripped out his head IV during an MRI. The nurse was very shocked and tired after that go. Most importantly, he made all of the nurses and doctors fall in love with him and amazed them with all his strides and his strong will. His neonatologist, Dr. Lee, calls him “one tough dude.”
Some of his nurses’ words about their time with Ezra:
I had the privilege to be a part of your journey as a nurse in the NICU. I was blessed to watch you fight and get the most out of this unfair life. Words can’t describe our time together but to give a little insight, our favorite thing to do was turn on music on the “NICU TV” with some back pats and rubs. But, most of all you were so full of love with the best smile and cuddles. Your family has the best little soul to watch over them.
All my love,
Melissa Moorman RN
From the first shift I had with you to my last, I always had a huge smile on my face when I realized I would be taking care of you for my shift. One thing I loved most was being able to hold and cuddle you in my free time. You loved your binki, butt pats, and being sung to. You have truly made an impact on my life. I will remember you forever and always.
Julia Baker RN
During Ezra’s short time with us, he acquired many nicknames: Mr. Man, Sweet Boy, Bubs, Stink, Lil Man, and “Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich” by ARNP, Gail Reynolds. Some of his favorite things were butt pats, cuddles from mommy and daddy, music, books, pacifier, his NICU light up TV, mobile, the 12th floor at U of I, feeling the sun and wind, holding your finger, and his moo moo cow rattle.
Ezra spent 3 months and 23 days fighting the good fight at the University of Iowa before medical interventions were stopped, and he was transitioned into hospice care.
Ezra has a big sister, Emryn Lively, and he also has a little brother on the way coming in September. Although his big sister is only 2, she knows she has a baby brother and would never stop asking about him. She even named her baby doll “Ezra.” Ezra and Israel will always be Emryn’s little brothers, and they will always be their future sibling’s big brothers no matter what. We will always celebrate them and teach our children about their siblings, even though they aren’t earthside with us.
Along with mommy and daddy and sister, Emryn, the boys are survived and loved by their 3 cousins, Jane Nicole and Alexander Obed De Cerritos, children of Crystal and Gerson, along with Eleanor Lynne, baby girl to Nate and Shelby Clark. Even though Ezra and Israel never got to meet their cousins, their Tia Crystal says she feels like she knew Ezra deeply just by his photos and videos. She stated, “Sweet Ezra was such a gift, even though I never met him, his pictures made our days complete! Thank you for sharing him with us each day he was here.” They grew so much love for him even though they never met him in person.
Ezra and Israel are also survived by their grandparents: Brian Samson, Amanda Ball, Kelvin (Tammy) Van Kooten, and Kathy Van Kooten; as well as aunts and uncles: Crystal and Gerson De Cerritos, Shelby and Nate Clark, AJ Caldwell, Jacob Samson, Briana Reding, and Alexander Samson.
Ezra impacted every person who knew about him. We will always celebrate Ezra and his twin brother, Israel, with our family.
Ezra and Israel were preceded in death by their great grandpa, Larry Samson, and great grandma and grandpa, Grace and Harris Van Kooten.