Thursday, August 19, 2010

Newborn Brady! You may need tissues.

I know that it has been over a year since I have written on this blog. What can I say other than I have been really healthy and busy since I had my bilateral lung and liver transplant in 2007?! I am going to continue where I left off and talk about immediately after Brady was born and the months following.

After the doctors finished "tying" my tubes and closing me up, I was taken to recovery. There, the nurses monitored me to make sure that I started to heal and that I had no fevers, bleeding, heart issues, and whatever else after this major surgery. I had family memebers come in to tell me they had seen Brady and that he was doing great and that he was a tiny, handsome baby who looked like a little man. My sister, Barb, had taken some pictures with her digital camera, so other than seeing Brady before the doctors took him away, my first time seeing him was in a camera screen. I cried, I wanted to hold him so bad. He looked perfect, he was my and Nate's creation, and I wanted to hold him close to me and never let him go. Yet, I had to wait, while everyone else got to see him.

Once I was recovered enough, I was taken to the NICU to see Brady. He was so precious and looked so fragile. He was breathing without the use of oxygen or a ventilator, which is great for being seven weeks premature. I got to hold him for about 10 minutes before I had to put him back in his little bed, with the lights that were keeping him warm and keeping the jaundice at bay. He was so tiny, I had never held a baby that tiny before. I couldn't believe that he was finally here and that things turned out much better than expected. I cried, any mother would. I'm actually beginning to get teary just writing this because I remember the feeling all too well. Some of it was fear of the unknown...I didn't know what was going to happen to me, if I would get listed and get the transplant on time and get to be a Mother, or if Brady would just have Daddy to love and care for him. Either way, he would be loved by many, many people.

After just staring at him for a little while longer, I was taken to my room to get some rest. I know that I layed there, but I don't remember if I slept or not. I remember that it wasn't much longer and the nurses had me up and walking around. They thought that they would just have me walk a few feet, but were surprised when I walked around the whole maternity ward. I wanted to get stronger, I knew that I had to. When I got back to my room, I was starving from not being able to eat. I ate some food and wanted to go back to the NICU to see Brady. I didn't want to be away from him. After a brief visit, I went back to my room for the night, and fell asleep crying. Not because I was worried about Brady, but because I wanted him by my side like all the other mothers had.

The next morning Brady was not in the same nursery. He had been moved from critical care to a "less care" nursery in less than 24 hours! Sometime during my visit with Brady, Dr. Sexton came in because I wasn't in my room when he went to check on me. He looked at Brady and got teary-eyed. I'm sure he was happy that things turned out so well, when just a few months earlier, he had told me not to go through with the pregnancy. I spent as much time as I could with Brady in the next couple of days. People were allowed to come see him but we could only have 2 people at a time in there. The only people allowed to hold him were parents and grandparents, and it wasn't even for more than a few minutes at that. When in the nursery, you would walk in and see Brady in the "incubator" with this little cloth thing over his eyes that looked like sunglasses, to protect his eye from the lights. He was hooked to monitors and had an IV in his arm for nutrients. He wore only a diaper, so clothes didn't get in the way of the monitors and IV. He looked like a little old man, with wrinkly skin, who had room to grow. He was tiny and he was handsome.

Over the next few days, Brady continued to progress, and I continued to hold him when I could, change his diaper when allowed, help with his feedings (which were done by putting a tube down his throat and letting the formula slowly run in, called lavage), and staring at him when I couldn't hold him. He was perfect and I didn't want to leave. That Friday (the 13th no less), just three days after Brady was born, I was taken into Interventional Radiology to replace the port that I had in since August 2001. Both the upper and lower loomens weren't working because it was clogged and we couldn't get the clog cleaned out. The old port was taken out of my right side of my chest and a new one was put in the left side.

I was discharged from the hospital the next day but Brady had to stay there until they felt he was doing well enough to be able to be transported by ambulance to our hospital in the Utica area. I took a little cloth that had been with him in his bed so that I could have something of his to keep close to me as I had to leave him behind. I fell asleep crying that night, with the cloth in my hand. I made the 45 minute trip back to Crouse every day to see Brady, until he could come "home." I think I spent the next few days just crying on and off because I missed Brady so much and wanted him closer to me.

After what seemed like an eternity, he was transferred to Faxton St. Luke's hospital on January 18, 2006. He stayed in FSL mainly for weight gain, jaundice, and he eventually needed to learn how to suck on a bottle. It took a while for his jaundice to go away, and at one point, they tried to get him to suck on a bottle, but he wasn't quite ready for it yet. All the while, we continued to try to see what was wrong with this right eye, because it still wasn't opening. We also found out that he has retinal coloboma (mishaped pupil) in his left eye which would effect his vision but we weren't able to tell how much at that point. It was about a week before Brady was realeased, that we were finally able to see that he did have an eye in his right socket, but it was very small because it didn't form all the way, and he would never have sight in that eye.

The day finally came where he was doing really well with all of his bottle feedings and he was able to come home. After a month of being in the hospital, Brady Michael was welcomed home on February 14, 2006...Valentine's Day! He weighed 5 pounds but he was still tiny. It was so weird not seeing Brady hooked to monitors/wires. My friend Mary came to the hospital with me to pick him up because Nate had to work, and I had to have someone with me. We got him home and it felt so good!! I was so worried that something would happen, that I kept checking on Brady constantly when he was in his crib. That first night of him being home, I didn't get much sleep because he needed to be fed every 3 hours and even when he was sleeping, he made all sorts of noises, which kept me awake. Overall, he did great coming home and he was the most perfect baby anyone could ask for.

Within the next month, we had visitors come and go and Brady continued to do well. I, however, was a different story. I was getting sick frequently and was on IV antibiotics more often than not. With having a new baby, and me having infections constantly, Nate and I decided that it would be best that I do not return to work. I ended up resigning from my position at the House of the Good Shepherd in the beginning of March and I filed for disability. I started going back to Cleveland Clinic for transplant evaluations near the end of March. Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT's) showed that my lung function was down to 20 percent.

When I returned to Cleveland, it was confirmed that my lungs were getting worse and I could tell, because I could feel the effects of it. The lung doctor that I saw that time, was Dr. Mehta. He told me that he was happy that I had a baby. I was stunned to hear a doctor say that to me, so of course, I asked him why. He told me that "Having a baby and a c-section shows how much stress your body can handle." The appointments did not bring much good news about my health, but I was still not put on the list because there was more testing to be completed. I would continue to go to Cleveland every 3 months or so, and would have to complete more tests there and at home, and then I would be able to be listed. I was so ready to be listed, get the transplant, and be the Mommy that Brady deserved.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!