Tuesday, April 10

24 Weeks, 1 day - Again

Today marks the day in my pregnancy with Bryce that he was born. Try not to harp on that one all day.

It was the first thought I had this morning and I have no doubt it will be the last I have as I close my eyes tonight.

Actually, it started a couple of days ago. When I started to feel some relief at the thought that I was finally, really feeling well. Then I remembered how well I felt in the days leading up to Bryce's birth.

And so no relief from the anxiety of what if and what's next could be had in the days leading to today.

This morning my thoughts were of how the morning that Bryce was born, a Sunday morning, I was determined to take it easy and do as little as possible. And I did, even though I truly felt completely fine. Hmmm...I feel completely fine now too. Odd how a thing like feeling fine can even impart a sense of doom under the right conditions.

But this evening I had my sweet boy, laundry and a Caleb cooked spaghetti to keep me about as much distracted as is possible. Even still, as we settle into the evening, and the hours draw closer to 10 - when things went drastically wrong - there is no distraction.

My eye returns to the clock and that traumatic night more and more often. I find myself remembering in shockingly vivid detail what I was doing on that night at 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm...

We were driving home and I started to feel badly but didn't want to worry Caleb for what I was sure was nothing.  Growing more concerned over the hour drive home we decided to stop and check my blood pressure (completely normal).  We finally got home and Caleb headed for the couch as I went to the shower. That's where I reached the point of no return, where my gut instinct told me something was terribly wrong as I doubled over in pain.

That feeling of being home with my husband, as so many times before, but being completely alone in my despair and terror. Unable to move and unable or unwilling to scream, I still don't know, I waited until the contraction passed and I could get immediately out of the shower.

The look on Caleb's face when some time around 10:30 pm I told him, "something is wrong."

Him standing next to me, on the phone with the midwife, trying to get me to lay down in bed but I couldn't move. Another contraction, only minutes apart.

Caleb arguing with the midwife about which hospital we should go to when a scream escapes despite my best effort to conceal the horror in my heart for his sake. And then the flood of my water breaking, even the sound of it crashing like a wave against our wood floors. Right there by my side of the bed, where I had naively stood thousands of times before, unaware of just how cruel and hurtful life could be. Without the slightest clue as to how swiftly your while life could change - forever.

And then what? I honestly don't know. A blessing perhaps. Maybe I thought I'd go get dressed and we'd go to the hospital, or that I needed to remove myself from the reality of that puddle. Whatever it was that propelled me to our bathroom, it meant that that would be the site of our first child's birth.

Less than two minutes after my water breaks, I'm sitting in an ever growing pool of my own blood, talking to 911 and helping Caleb give CPR to a 1.5 pound, 12" baby Bryce.

No matter what this evening brings I can only pray it will be much more boring.

And regardless of the trauma of that night, or the anxiety I'll battle for the foreseeable future, I'll be eternally grateful for the miracle I was a part of.

What a wild ride it's been...

 Bryce, at Cedar Park Regional Hospital, about an hour after he was born.

 Bryce - 4 days old, fighting valiantly for his life.

 My first chance to hold Bryce, since his birth, he is two weeks old.

 Bryce finally stabilizing some, though breathing is an ongoing struggle for him.

 Caleb holding Bryce "like a real baby" - aka, no kangaroo/skin to skin but all bundled up where he could stare into his eyes (and the monitors!)

 Finally getting to wear clothes - size Preemie.

 Proud parents (and UT fans) showing off their amazing miracle who is just off the ventilator, after four + long months of not being able to breathe on his own.

 November 4, 2009 - Day 150 and finally leaving the NICU.

 Mere days before Christmas, Bryce gives us his first and our BEST Christmas gift ever - he smiles.

 Enjoying my sweet boy at home in the buff.

 First day of Bryce in glasses - I love that toothless grin.

 The first of many March for Babies, supporting the organization that helped saved our son's life.

 First Birthday!

 First shunt revision after discharge - and last so far!

 First family vacation - high atop Mt. Evans, Colorado.

 First piece of Durable Medical Equipment.

 First NICU reunion.

 Look who can hold his own bottle?!

 And look how can sit all by himself too.

First (and last!) baby brother on the way!

Monday, April 9


Bryce had his second week of equine therapy last week and will have his third session tomorrow. My dad says that he only cried when his therapist walked away with him last week but seemed to be enjoying the rest. Especially how he can sign "go" and then Maggie, his horse, responds by going.

Over the last week it's become obvious that he enjoys it and understands what you're talking about when referring to it. If I ask him if he saw or will see Maggie he gets the biggest, most sincere grin on his face. And if you ask him if he rides a horse he moves his body like he's galloping in your arms. It's so cool to see how much he likes it.

I'm optimistic that it may some day give him the opportunity to engage in a sport whereas he otherwise likely wouldn't be able to. I played tennis competitively for many, many years and it was an important part of my identity growing up. I only hope some day he'll have something that he truly enjoys and can be a part of, the way tennis was for me.

Here are some pictures of Bryce's first session - you can see that he was pretty content when they were in motion but as soon as Maggie stood still, or apparently he heard my voice, he tried his best to cry his way out of it.

His therapist, Jennifer, is really good at not cutting him any slack - which he needs because he knows some people will "rescue" him from anything given a certain amount of bottom lip or a tear or two.  And everyone at Red Arena has been really sweet, understanding and patient with him.  I'm so grateful for this opportunity for Bryce!

Bryce doing a "ride by" - not happy.

This time the ride by doesn't stop - a little happier.

Bryce trying his best to get Jennifer to save him - she's not budging.

Safely back in Poppa's arms - happy as can be.

Up close with Maggie, saying thank you - she's a real sweetheart!