The Loves of my Life!

The Loves of my Life!
Brett, Caleb, & Isabella

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brett's Arrival - Part II

Part II of Brett's story...

(To read Part I click here.)

Around noon or so, the nurse practitioner on call came in to take a look at Brett. She noted that Brett's heart sounded a little odd. She said she was sure everything was fine, but she wanted the pediatrician to come take a look at him. The doctor came in a little while later. He too noticed the sound of Brett's heart. He said there was a valve that often closes off within a day or two after birth. That often causes the sound of a heart murmur which is very common in newborns. Both the nurse practitioner and the pediatrician thought that his sounded a bit louder than that. So they ordered an ECHO to be done. An Echo is an ultrasound of the heart. They took Brett for several hours while they did the Echo. They recorded their findings and sent them to The Children's Hospital (TCH) in downtown Denver.
   After what seemed like forever they finally brought Brett back into the room. We didn't hear anything from them for awhile. A nurse came in to do my vitals. She assumed that we had already heard the news and when she realized that we hadn't told us briefly that they would have to take him to TCH. I was trying to nurse Brett, but the nurse noticed that his coloring was a bit off. He also had his first stinky diaper. So she changed his diaper and checked his vitals. Brett was very unhappy and crying. The nurse noticed that his feet looked purple. She ended up taking him to the nursery right away. I think it was around 5 PM. Brett was just barely 12 hours old. 
   The pediatrician came in and explained a few things. He said Brett had what was called a Coarctation of the Aorta. The aorta connects to the heart and provides blood to the body. The doctor said the doctors at TCH would take a closer look at it and decide if and when Brett would need surgery. These are a few things that you never want to hear the doctor say about your newborn baby! Steven was scared and I was convinced that everything was going to be fine. Brett's heart was fine and he wouldn't need surgery! It was wishful thinking, but not reality.
   Around 7 PM they wheeled Brett into my room on a massive stretcher with a little incubator strapped to it. He was tiny! He was accompanied by two guys from Flight For Life dressed in all their gear. It was terrifying! I had to say goodbye to my little boy. And just like that, he was gone.
   How could this be happening to us? Stuff like this doesn't happen to normal people on a normal day, does it? Shouldn't there be some sort of warning? What was going on? Steven and I had a million questions, most of which remained unanswered for months. Only time would tell what the future would hold.
Holding Brett at TCH
  Steven called a few friends to come hang out with me at the hospital so I wouldn't have to be by myself for the evening. Steven left to go down to TCH so that he could be with Brett and talk to the doctors to find out the details of what was going on. At some point we called our families and told them what was going on. I remember being all choked up when I called my mom. My heart was very sad and I could barely get out the words. I just cried and cried. My mom, my sister, and my little nephew, Brock, were planning to fly to Denver that Saturday. It was Tuesday evening. We both agreed that my mom needed to get there ASAP so she changed her plane ticket so that she would arrive first thing Wednesday morning. We also told friends at YWAM Denver and asked everyone to pray for us. So many people were praying! If you were one of those people who prayed, thank you very much!
   My new goal was to get out of bed, start walking, and using the bathroom on my own, and also to pump as much breast milk as I could so that once Brett could eat, he would have the best. Usually, after a c-section you are required to stay 4 nights before they release you from the hospital. There is no way that I was going to wait 4 days to see my son! The nurses were aware of my goal and did their best to help me accomplish my goals.
   That first night was probably the most difficult night of my life. I watched TV for a while to try and distract myself. It didn't work very well. I knew I needed to get sleep and tried to sleep, but I couldn't stop crying. I cried and cried and cried. Steven finally made it back to my hospital late that night. He sat in bed with me. We talked about the what the doctors at TCH had to say and the possible outcomes.
   Brett was officially diagnosed with a Coarc. We were told he would have surgery on Thursday, in two days. They were also doing a FISH test on him to check for DiGeorge Syndrome, Williams Syndrome and a couple other things. The doctors told Steven a bit about what it could mean. I, again, didn't think that Brett had any of these things, whether optimistic or in denial. I thought the doctors were unnecessarily concerned. However, the possibilities were very concerning. Steven was very worried that something more was going on than just the needed heart surgery. It would take several weeks for the results to come back from the FISH test, so we would have to wait to hear the outcome.
   We lay in my hospital bed discussing the possibilities and crying together. We prayed and gave our son back to God realizing that he was never really ours to begin with. We pleaded with God to touch his little body and to bring healing. Steven then started reading scripture to me so that I could fall asleep. He started with Psalm 91, which is still my favorite. I don't know how much he read, but I know that the peace of God began to wash over me and sleep finally came to my exhausted body.
   I never dreamt that I would have to go through something like this. Every dream that I have ever had about having a baby, raising a child, dreams of who he might be when he grows up and the life that he might live, all of it seemed to be hanging in the balance. What would our future hold?
My mom's first meeting with Brett at TCH
   My mom arrived early Wednesday morning. Her and Steven spent that day going back and forth between my hospital and TCH. It was a huge relief to have my mom there. This was one of those times when "you just need your mom" and mine was there. Thanks, Mom, You're the best!
   I focused on getting out of bed, sleeping, eating, pumping, and going to the bathroom. I was weak and in a lot of pain and on lots of drugs, but I was very determined. I had to be well enough to be released the next day so I could make it to TCH in time for Brett's surgery.
   Thursday morning arrived. I was excited, anxious, nervous with anticipation. It took longer than I wanted, but Dr Hill made it around to see me and signed my release papers. I still remember sitting in the wheel chair and being wheeled outside with my mom and Steven and the nurse and a whole cart of belongings and gifts. It was sad to be without a baby, but it was exciting to know that he was only minutes away.
   We finally made it to TCH. It was a bit scary to walk through the hospital and finally to the NICU. There were so many machines and wires and sick babies and nurses. All of it was a bit intimidating at first. I was thrilled and heartbroken all at the same time to see Brett. I got to hold him for an hour or so. What a precious little life! Cardiologists, surgeons, the anesthesiologist, and the geneticist all stopped by to check in with us before Brett's surgery and to explain the procedures and risks. They would make an incision on his back under his left shoulder that would only be about 2 inches long and he would also have a little hole in his left side for a chest tube. They would have to put tubes down his throat and we were told that his throat would be soar and it could affect his voice for quite some time. So much information! The time flew by and soon they were wheeling him down the hallways. We followed closely, me in my handy dandy wheelchair. They stopped just outside the doors of the hallway leading to the operating room. It was time to say goodbye, again.
   We prayed for Brett and gave him kisses and love and then he was gone.
Fresh out of surgery!
   One of the nurses, Esther, would be coming to give us updates on how things were going and when he would be out of surgery. The corrective surgery for a Coarc, according to the doctors, is the least complicated of heart surgeries, only a 1% risk. Still, it's heart surgery! At the time, yes, we knew it was huge, but there was also an overwhelming peace that was definitely "peace that passes understanding". We headed down to the cafeteria to eat. It all seems like a dream now. I think the surgery lasted for a couple of hours. Esther found us and told us he was out of surgery. Another few hours went by before we could see him because they had to observe him for some time and make sure he was doing okay. 
   Finally, it was time for Brett to go back to his original spot in the NICU. We got to go see him shortly after that. He made it! 
   Brett had all sorts of tubes and wires attached to his little body. The hours came and went and with it oxygen and tubes were taken off as he continued to improve and improve. Brett was a little champion! Our little fighter! We were so proud of him and so excited to see him doing so well. It was a day full of emotion! It was difficult to see him with so many wires and at times uncomfortable and in pain. 
No one like Mommy!
   The most difficult part was having to leave Brett to go home at the end of the night! I still had to wake up during the night so that I could pump to bring in my milk, but I didn't have a baby to wake up to. And Brett was alone. The nurses did a great job taking care of him, but they couldn't give him what I could and wanted to give. It was rough! Thank you to all the nurses and doctors who did such an amazing job taking care of Brett!
   The surgery was over and he was recovering well. The next question was "when do we get to take our little boy home?" Brett had to pee and poop. I remember they had to weigh his diaper to make sure he was peeing enough. I also remember telling everyone at YWAM to pray for poop! Wow, how quickly life changes! The most important thing in our life at the time was that Brett have a poopy diaper. A poopy diaper meant that he was doing well and his heart was successfully pumping blood to his entire body. It meant that he could go home soon! 
Sweet Kisses
   My sister, Karen, and my 4 month old nephew joined us on Saturday. It was a blessing to have more family with us and a delight to have Brock's smiling face around! YWAM Denver was an amazing support to us during that time. They brought us meals every day that we were at the hospital. Families came with food and stayed to chat and pray. These were definite bright spots during the rough days. I remember Brock got his first kiss from a little girl whose parents came to visit us. : ) Thank you to all who were there for us during that time! You were a huge blessing!
Going Home!
   The last hang up was his bilirubin. It took several days for his levels to go down enough so that we could take him home. 5 nights of waking up and going to the hospital and coming home without a baby. Finally, on the 6th day, we found out that yes, indeed, it was time to take little Brett home! 
 The story doesn't end here...
Included in Part III: low blood sugar and the results of the FISH test. Stay tuned!


  1. I am so glad you are writing this! So many things about my experience are similar, unfortunately I can't remember all my details. I have cried reading this but I know little Brett comes home and he is fabulous just the way God made him!! Love him!!

  2. Aww thanks Chriss! This is one of those things you never want to see your child go glad I got to be there. Oh wow!! I was crying reading this too...oh the memories, the emotions, what a time. Little did we know what all was in store! And what an amazing little guy we would have to privilege to get to know! I love you all so much! Mom

  3. Thanks for writing it out and sharing your story. Love you