Nothing Can Prepare You For This Type Of Parenting
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
Nothing can prepare you for parenthood until it’s looking back at you with tears in its fear filled eyes.
Nothing could prepare me for the moment of waking up dazed and confused from a horrible nightmare realizing it was real life. Nothing could have prepared me for having to spend the night at the hospital after my surgery staring at the empty baby bed in our hospital room, with tears continually running down my face. My eyes were so puffy to the point of almost swelling shut from the pain of wondering if my baby boy would be okay.
Nothing could prepare me for the pain of leaving the hospital sore and freshly stitched back together, only to rush to another hospital in St Pete. Nothing could prepare me for the anxiety of wondering if he was okay, if he was warm or if he knew we loved him. Or the anxiety of wondering how our son was going to look when we saw him.
I was holding so many emotions in from the traumatic way he entered into this world that when I saw him, I was even more traumatized seeing the pain he was going through and the suffering he had to continue to experience.
He was covered in stickers, IVs, chords & wires with a scary giant breathing tube down his throat - he wore this white cap on his head which covered more wires and chords monitoring his brain waves an EEG they call it. I remember watching that screen and seeing flat lines. Feeling helpless and lost not knowing how I could be there for him. He was ice cold, and all his movements were from seizures, with no brain activity. These machines were keeping him alive.
For someone, I was supposed to feel so close and connected to; I couldn't help but feel distant. For the longest time I was scared to look at him or even touch him for that matter. I remember the sheer panic and sadness I felt when I finally worked up the courage to hold Brenden's hand I gripped onto his little (big) fingers they were the only part of him that wasn't attached to something.
“Mom listen, Brenden needs to be cold right now, and any warmth can actually harm him.”
I wept and just let the tears run down my face as I ungrasped my hand from his. Finding out I couldn’t touch him for three days until the warming process started and ended left me feeling even more broken. Shortly after was the first time he opened his eyes he looked right up at me. I continued to cry but felt a wave of healing that was taking over him. I feel like he peeped at me to tell me it was going to be okay.
Three days in they started the warming process .5 degrees an hour he was warmed. I was so excited to feel his body warm and full of life. Jason and I sat by his side during the whole warming process, 12 long hours it took to get his body up to normal temperature. Closely monitoring him and watching all of the machines like a hawk. We quickly learned all of the fancy dr lingo and could pick up on what everyone was talking about when they did their morning rounds. We even learn what each number on his monitor meant and where his vitals should be at.
I had to wait a whole week (what felt like a year) to hold him. I remember feeling so helpless and disconnected to Brenden. A feeling a mother should never have to feel about her baby. I was so scared to bond with him.
“I don’t want to hold him if I can’t keep him,” I remember crying out to Jason. We had made the decision together that I would be the first to hold him and Jason would be the last, letting him pass peacefully in his arms if it came to that.
I knew skin to skin was the best thing possible for him, and I needed to provide that. It brought me back to when I was in the process of delivering him, while being transported from Rosemary Birthing Home to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, reaching down holding Brenden’s limp hand while his head was still stuck inside me. It gave me power and him strength letting him know I was here no matter what, he was loved, and I’m waiting for him. I have never felt so at peace as I did holding him that first time. I knew I couldn’t let everything build up inside me and break me down, I had to be strong for my son. I didn’t want my emotions to affect him in any negative way. I just had to fully embrace him and all the magick that he is.
The morning after holding him for the first time he just looked so alive and happy. I swear I could see him smiling under all the tape that was holding his breathing tubes in place. From there on out I was able to hold him once a day for an hour. There were still so many concerns with Brenden and so many unknowns about what the future looked like for him.
I remember the Dr coming in while I was looking over Brenden's bed. She asked me to sit down, I remember feeling terrified and scared not knowing what news she was here to deliver. We had the quality of life conversation which included taking him off the machines and letting him pass peacefully. We did not feel it was fair for him to be stuck as a vegetable his whole life hooked up to machines and unable to communicate. We had this conversation on a Thursday... Come Monday Brenden had made some amazing improvements. Everyone was no longer looking at us with tears in their eyes; instead, there was hope in those same eyes that days previous were filled with fear and sorrow and now smiles on their faces.
It only got better from there. The more I held him skin to skin the better he got. Every few days they would slowly lower the breaths per minute that the machine was breathing for him. It started at 40, once the machine got down to 15 they decided he was ready to try it on his own. February 14th, 2019 Brenden was breathing on his own, with only oxygen tubes in his nose. One week later he decided he was all done with the oxygen he ripped the fresh tape off his little chubby cheeks and ripped the tubes right out of his nose. We hung out with him and watched the monitors very closely.
After a few days of breathing on his own, we heard his first noise, a hiccup! We felt it suited him very well for he always had the hiccups when he was in my belly. They were the cutest noise we had ever heard. Ever since that first hiccup, he has been working on his baby noises, and though they are small and quiet, we get excited every time. We can not only feel but see his progress, and nothing makes us happier. Brenden is the strongest person I know and meeting him has been the biggest blessing of my life, I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He is my soulmate.
There are still some concerns with him and so much of the future is unknown, but we are focusing one day at a time, trying to heal and connect as a family. Brenden remains hooked up to lots of chords, PICC line, monitors and a feeding tube. It feels like every few days there is one less machine as he grows stronger and stronger. Every time he wakes up from a nap he looks all around. Once he's done taking in his surrounding he'll look at me in the eyes; you can tell he is working incredibly hard to heal.
He has come so far when the nurses who haven't seen him since he was admitted come into visit us they are in complete shock. No one thought he would make it, let alone be breathing on his own. His body is slowly waking up from all the medication he was on. I've never been so excited about a hiccup before or a poop for that matter.
Nothing could have prepared me for the love I feel towards this little warrior. Nothing could have prepared me for how his story has been written thus far. I can't wait to see what else this baby boy will write; his story has just begun.