Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brody's Story, by his mama

Post by Meagan.

At 20 weeks pregnant, my husband Jason and myself took our 3 year old son Donovan with us to the doctor’s office, to get the ultra sound that would tell us boy or girl…which we learned but the ultrasound changed our lives in so many more ways than that. In that tiny dark room, the attendant made comments about baby not cooperating, legs crossed, moving too much for her to get accurate measurements here and there, whatever things she was needing to document that never mattered to me so much as they will if there’s ever a third time for us. So after a time, she had me use the restroom, perhaps an empty bladder would help baby move and she’d be able to tell us more…and how about also we go to this other room with a better machine up in a specialists office just case that wasn’t enough. 

We didn’t question it. We just wanted to know…brother or sister. Donovan so very much wanted a sister, nothing else would do. And with joy even still….we all learned that number 2 would be another boy. At the end of the examination, the ultrasound tech said she could not let us go thinking all was right as rain, there were some things that concerned her and she didn’t want us to get a surprise call from a doctor the next day with a “by the way…” phone call. She was going to have the doctor who was there and a radiologist look at the pictures. Our regular doctor wasn’t in the office.
We sat in a waiting room with Donovan forever. Crying with fear here and there and wondering so much what was going on. Finally we got to see the doctor we’d never met before and he came at us with a laundry list of issues, cleft lip, maybe water on the brain…on and on and on it seemed to go. We cried and talked to the doctor and afterwards some friends and family and we got used to the idea that we’d have a special needs child…no idea that it wasn’t’ even something the doctors we hadn’t yet seen considered an option…

 So 2 weeks later, we went in for an extensive level 2 ultrasound with a special doctor. And his prognosis was worse, suspected trisomy 18, lots of talk of our options, which were limited and time was running short to make that big one…termination of the pregnancy. We got all kinds of information about what was showing up, poor growth, fluid here, misshapen there.
And so we scheduled an amnio…we wanted to know what actually was happening with our child….but time was not of the essence for us…that big choice…termination wasn’t an option. Our child came into being for a reason and was still with us 22 weeks later for a reason and we would let him fulfill that reason, whatever it was going to be. The diagnosis came back as trisomy 13 and again we were reminded that time was running out to make that big choice an d that 70% of the people who saw the doctor we were seeing chose to terminate their pregnancies with that kind of diagnosis and everything we read…EVERYTHING it felt like was telling us life wasn’t an option for our little boy.

And so we began right away to search for our silver linings, while going to doctor appointments, full of dismal news, reading blogs that all ended with the end of the life of the child they were created to honor. We had to find reasons that this was not all a bad thing…what was our son going to do in our lives that was good?
We quickly named our son, Broderick, meaning brother, Cillian, meaning little warrior. We knew this guy, this active tiny person growing, needed something very strong in a name for what he’d face with us.
The pregnancy proceeded fairly normal and typical honestly…other than appointments were more for me than him, ultrasounds were for our benefit more than to check on Brody’s health. I was the patient and he was the risk. But not everyone treated us that way. There were people in the doctors office who praised us for choosing life, giving him a chance. Working in a high risk office, that wasn’t something they saw often and not something they saw almost ever with our particular diagnosis. They cried with us and hugged us and were excited as week after week, Brody continued to grow and live.

August 9th, 2013…no ideas I was in labor. I had used the bathroom several times and thought the pains I was having were muscle spasms. I wasn’t due till the 17th and after having a c section with our first child, I honestly had no idea that I was having contractions. A few hours into the work day, I conceded with friends and family and coworkers…it was time to see a doctor. I ran home first to pack a bag…not prepared to be going early with this boy who seemed to be beating the odds….he was still going strong at full term, not coming early and stillborn. I got a bag and gathered up my husband and some other family who wanted to be at the hospital just in case and off we went. It took several hours and doctors and times being examined before they finally decided it was for sure full on labor and I was going to be staying….
That took hours…but once they decided I was staying, things FLEW by. An hour later I had an epidural and about an hour and a half later…I was pushing. 25 minutes tops and about 10 pushes later, Brody was here!! All was quiet from him; he appeared blue as a smurf to us and silent. I asked very nervously for someone to please let me know if he was alive and a nurse with a stethoscope listened. A faint heartbeat she said but it’s there. And he was placed in my arms and we cried and kissed and talked to him. Not sure if he’d be with us long, we tried to tell him a lot of things right away…but soon he cried. So pathetic and quiet and the most glorious noise EVER!

In time, Brody’s color turned to pink, slowly the color spread across his body, erasing all that blue. He made noise, he moved! He didn’t open his eyes…but he was awake and alive.
And for the next 7 day and 14 hours, we got to know our son. His brother was brought in right away to meet him. Donovan wasn’t super interested in knowing Brody that first day but as the days passed, that changed, he grew interested in his brother, less afraid of his face that was so different and yet so like his own. He kissed him, he held him.

Precious baby Brody <3

We learned so much about Brody in those days and hours. We learned he had eyes…but not enough strength to get them open. We figured out how to kiss a cleft lip…still the sweetest kisses a parent can get. We learned that an extra finger and 2 extra toes are ADORABLE. We found out that baby skin covered in tons of peach fuzz like hair is so intoxicating and soft. We found ways to soothe him, how to give him a pacifier with no palate, how to nuzzle him and let him nuzzle us, trying to explore his world without being able to hear or see us…only knowing us through feeling us and our love on his skin. We were taught how to feed our soon through a tube, still able to give him breast milk. We changed diapers, we cheered for diapers because it meant digestion was happening AND working. We put cute clothes on him, rubbed on lotion, we gave baths, we sang songs. We held him when he’d get mad and stop breathing. We’d cry at his struggling and cry at the little wins, the doctors figuring out his heart was in better shape than they guessed, that we were not any longer waiting for a couple holes to close up and take him from us. We cried when they said…get ready for the long haul, you’re taking him home.

And so we did just that, family rushed home to prepare a spot in our home for this amazing little boy who we never guessed we’d be able to take home with us. And on the 7th day…that’s where we went…home. And home is where he passed, in his father’s arms, surrounded by TONS of family just about 20 hours later, hopefully knowing as little pain as possible but knowing how much love was surrounding him.
We’re so grateful for that time. We’re so grateful for getting to know him, for getting to see him, to share kisses, to learn about his personality, to feel his love back, to see how he looked like his brother, to know how he liked to be rocked or suck on a finger, to spend quiet time with him, watching him try to suck his thumb. It was all precious and I’d never give up a minute of it. And I so with I could give all that feeling to the parents who don’t know what they’re missing out on when they decide to agree with the doctors and make the choice to terminate. I can’t judge the choice they are making and I can’t stop them from making it….but there’s so much you don’t know at week 20 that you learn the rest of that pregnancy and maybe even after the birth…those moments make it matter, make it worth it, make your baby so important to give a chance to.


Heather Daniel said...

Absolutely beautiful!! I never got the chance to meet Brody, but he sounds like he was the most perfect little boy! So glad that you got the time with him that you did and he couldn't have been more blessed with a more perfect family!

Kristina Eklund said...

Thanks for sharing your whole story. I only knew you guys for a few hours, but in those few hours it became very obvious to me how much Brody was loved by everyone and the support that you have from your family is absolutely amazing. Brody couldn't have been born into a more loving family.

Meggie B said...

Kristina Eklund I so hoped to find a way to contact you and tell you thank you for everything and maybe give you a picture of Brody....if you have an email address?

Anonymous said...

We had a daughter, Grace, born at 30 weeks with trisomy 13. Never an option for us to terminate. We had 2 horus and 23 minutes with her - best of my life. She squeaked and gave her dad's finger a squeeze to let us know she knew we were there. I am so glad you had 7 days with Brody - you all are so lucky to have had that time. Thank you for sharing your story.

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