Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Post - Day 8

I decided to "blog".  I know, I know, I hate it too.  I mean does anyone really read these things?  Well, it's not for you, it's for Erin, Faith, Ben, myself, and of course our baby girl... (name TBD)  I know that this story will be one for the books, and I don't want to forget any of it.  Is that the right word?  Story?  It sure doesn't feel like a story right now.  It feels real, because it is real.  Very real.

You know when people say, "I feel like I'm in a bad dream."?  I've said that a time or two.  This is honestly the first time in my life that I really feel that way.  But hey, I'm 32 years old, we all have bumps in the road right?  I have led a very, very, blessed and charmed life.  God has certainly smiled on me for the VAST majority of my 32 years.

But, this isn't about me.  This is about what's going on in our lives.  So, let's get started. 

Last Saturday night, Erin woke me up at about 2:30 in the morning.  Why does it always have to be late at night or early in the morning?  Have any of you ever been to the ER at 2:00 P.M on a Tuesday?  I sure haven't.  It's always in the A.M. and it always seems to be on the weekend.  Weird..  At any rate, she woke me up with some concerning news.  She said that she felt "leaking".  As a guy, I have no idea what that means.  However, I could tell that it was serious based on Erin's reaction.  She called her OB's on call number, and the doctor that happened to call back was her own.  He said to go to the ER immediately.  My first thought went to the kids.  What do we do?  How do we get two kids to the ER at 2:00 in the morning?  Erin went upstairs to wake them up while I got dressed and ready to go.  They were both CHAMPS!  No whining.  No complaining.  No crying.  Just some very understandable questions.

As we drove to the ER I just didn't know what to say.  I knew things weren't good, and I couldn't think of any way to comfort Erin.  I'm usual pretty good at doing that.  I can usually always make her laugh, or somehow lighten the mood.  Not on this night.

We got to the ER and they got Erin in pretty quick to the OB area.   As they wheeled Erin in, the kids and I followed along like little ducklings following their mom.  She is the absolute 100% BACKBONE of this family.  What do we do?  At least that's what I was thinking...

They got her into a gown and tested the fluid and it initially came back as positive for amniotic fluid.  As Erin was in the bathroom I asked the nurse what that meant.  She looked at me with a sad face, and said "At 22 weeks, it's not good."  The kids and I stayed with Erin until they told us it could be another 6 hours before Erin was able to see the right doctor.  Erin and I both agreed that it would be best for me to take the kids home and the 3 of us get some sleep.  Before we left, I gave Erin a big hug, told her everything was going to be OK and we gently cried a little bit together.

A few hours later, my cell phone rang and Erin had great news!  She told me that they had done a more accurate test and it revealed that the fluid was NOT amniotic fluid.  They were sending her home!  I couldn't have been more relieved!  I went upstairs woke Ben up and told him to get his shoes on.  I went and did the same to Faith.  I went back into Ben's room to check on him and he was gone!  I yelled, "Ben!"  I heard him yell from downstairs with his cute little voice, (his r's still sound like w's)  "I'm down hewre"  He was ready to go pick up his momma!  Very cute. 

We drove to the hospital and we were all in very good moods.  We picked up Erin and drove home.  False alarm.  No big deal.  We overreacted.  Let's get some sleep and get back to unpacking this place.  Right?  Wrong.  The next night, Sunday, the same thing happened again.  Erin didn't know what to do.  She had just been sent home for the same thing.  But, her maternal instincts told her something was wrong and decided to call her OB first thing Monday morning.

Honestly, I really didn't think much about it on my way in to work Monday morning.  I figured it would be no big deal, and her doctor would say so.  I dragged into work Monday morning, tired from the night before.  Thinking about my problems, not Erin's or the baby's.   Well, Erin called me at about 10:00 and told me that the doctor said her amniotic fluid looked low and she should go to the hospital immediately.  My heart sank.  I couldn't believe it.  But, my mind was still telling me that this was all just precautionary because she is pregnant.  The doctors can't and shouldn't take any chances, and they'd rather be safe than sorry.  I took the rest of the day off work, and came home to be with the kids.  While I was home with the kids, Erin called and said that she had a really nice doctor come in, a specialist, and he had done a sonogram.  The sonogram revealed that she was low in amniotic fluid, but she was on the low end of normal.  Praise God!  Low, but still "normal".  I knew it was just an overreacation!  I took the kids up to the hospital and we stayed up there for quite a while.  We left at about 8:00.  It was really hard to leave Erin by herself.  It would turn out to be a sign of things to come.

The next day, Tuesday, our great friends, Jackie and Joe Friend volunteered to watch the kids.  As, there wasn't much I could do for Erin, I decided to go to work.  I would check in periodically and it turned out that day, no news was good news.  They did some more test on the fluid and it kept coming back negative for amniotic fluid.  The doctors couldn't figure out what was going on.  It was getting a little frustrating.  Why was she leaking?  What was she leaking?  Was the baby going to be OK?  All these things were constantly running through my mind.  The doctor said to Erin, "You're an enigma!" 

That night, I was exhausted.  Working, taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, doing laundry was absolutely a beating!  I told Erin I would NEVER take her for granted again.  I had no idea how much she did every day.  I was getting very testy with the kids.  Very impatient.  Very grumpy. 

I spoke to Erin that night on the phone and we talked about how easy it was for me to be the fun, playful dad.  I mean, I come home at 7:30, play with the kids for about an hour, and I couldn't understand why Erin would snap at them or get frustrated.  NOW, I understand.  Don't get me wrong, they are GREAT kids.  I love them with all my heart, it's just exhausting.  That night, on the phone with Erin we talked about the big sonogram she had with this "super specialist" the next day.  I don't know why, but I felt like I should be there.  I had been missing a lot of work, and I didn't want to be out another day, but something (more like someone) was telling me I should be there with her.  I would find out later why...

Wednesday morning, my lovely sister in law Amanda showed up at our home at around 9:00.  She watched the kids while I went to be with Erin.  The doctor finally came in about 2 hours after I got there.  He was like a robot.  Your typical doctor/scientist, where percentages and data are all that matter.  He got the sono going, and about 5 seconds into it said, "You have no amniotic fluid left."  The way he said it, it was almost like he was saying "I had eggs for breakfast this morning."  Absolutely no emotion whatsoever.  He went on to tell us that the baby was in trouble.  He asked us if we wanted to continue the pregnancy.  What?  Are you serious?  Of course we want to continue "this pregnancy".  In other words, "No doc, we don't want to murder our child."  Unreal.  He also told us that even if Erin were to carry the baby for several more weeks, she could be born with lungs that don't work.  With no amniotic fluid, the baby can't exercise her lungs and she won't survive on her own.  The doctor said that the baby has about a 50/50 chance.  After his "diagnosis", Erin and I shared a long cry.  Basically, the worst news we could have gotten.  Can you imagine Erin getting that news on her own?  Thank you Father for leading me to be there with her rather than going to work.

I'm not going to lie, the next hour was filled with a lot of "why's?"  Why me?  Why us?  Why now?  Why OUR baby?  We had prayed so fervently for God's will.  If He wanted us to have another baby, please make it happen.  If not, that's fine too.  We truly sought God's will when we were praying about whether or not to have another baby.  So, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING???  It was hard.  It was hard to understand WHY. 

The only good to come out of that news, was that the doctors had developed a game plan.  Keep Erin on bed rest, and admit her to the hospital "IF" (their words) she makes it to Monday morning.  So, on Thursday I finally was able to bring my wonderful wife home.  On strict bedrest, she immediately went to our couch in the living room.  The rest of Thursday was actually pretty nice.  It was nice to have Erin home.  We kind of settled into a nice routine with the occasional ups and downs.  I guess that's to be expected.  We went to bed that night with a slight feeling of dread that we would wind up going to the ER in the early hours of the morning again.  Our pessimism was full throttle.  The Lord had other plans.

Woke up Friday morning and everything was great.  Erin was still doing good.  She was getting very tired of laying around, but knowing it is necessary she was able to fight though it.  I was in rare form this day.  In the best mood I've been in since this started.  I was making Erin laugh, playing with the kids.  It really felt like everything was back to normal.  It was good to have a day to get back to "normal".  We just keep telling ourselves, take it day by day & if we can make it to Monday morning things would be looking great!

Saturday, I decided to take Faith and Ben to the store to get Faith her school supplies.  My little girl starts Kindergarten a week from Monday!  Is it a blessing that she'll be in school?  I guess we'll find out in a week.  Taking Faith to get her first school supplies is obviously something a mother wants to do with her daughter.  Erin got pretty emotional as we were leaving.  Faith didn't make it any easier saying, "I want mommy to come."  Understandable.  I told Erin that it was no big deal, as I would have wanted to take Ben to get his stuff anyway.  So, we decided to "trade".  I'd take Faith this year, and she'll take Ben next year.  It was a very bitter sweet moment.

We got to the store, and why Faith wanted mommy to come was more understandable that ever!  Do you remember the scene in Mr. Mom where Michael Keaton is asking the deli lady for deli meat?  She lists out about 10 different choices, and the ladies behind him are groaning and yelling at him.  That was me Saturday trying to get school supplies!  It started off pretty easy:  12 number 2 pencils.  Bam!  Got it!  But when I got to (and I'm not kidding this is on the list) "1 Mead Marble Composition with story paper, red baseline 100 ct." I lost it!  I literally just started laughing.  It's either laugh or cry right?  Thankfully, an angel from the Lord disguised as an old lady working at Wal-Mart, helped me find all but one item. 

So here we are.  A week later!  Praise God!  After hearing that the doctor was "shocked" that Erin hasn't gone into labor yet on Thursday and to be here on Saturday is nothing but a miracle.  We are going through this for a reason.  God had this planned out long ago.  He has given me a peace that is beyond human understanding, and I look forward to taking this journey with all of you.


  1. Praying for y'all! Please know that I am RIGHT around the corner! Glad to help any time, any way! Love you guys!

  2. Thank you for sharing, Brandon. Erin- if you see these comments... WE LOVE YOU and that PERFECT LITTLE GIRL!!

  3. Wow! Thanks for sharing with us this story. We love ya'll and are praying! Whatever you need, big or little, we want to help.

  4. Thanks Brandon for keeping us all up to date. And Baby Girl will one day know what God has done in her life. As a newborn my parents were told I wouldn't live - and everyday since I can remember, my mom has constantly reminded me that God kept me alive for a reason and I need to live in a way that shows that God knew what He was doing...not doctors. Your family will appreciate you doing this for them. Please let us know what we can do for you!

  5. Thank you so much Brandon for sharing your story with everyone. I cried as I read this because it is such a God thing. I could relate so much from our own experience and know what yall are going through. You both are a true example of God's soldier's with your faith and trust and most of of for sharing it for all to witness. Please call upon us to help in any way. You will always have our prayers and support for as long as you need. We love yall. The Russell's

  6. We are praying for you guys!!!!!!
    Chad and Jodee

  7. What a wonderful blessing to hear this story from a daddy's point of view! Brandon, you are amazing and doing a wonderful job. I know Erin is so inspired by your encouragement. We love you guys and are SO happy we'll get to follow this journey even more closely with your blog. God is working ALL things together for good...waiting and praying with you...Cedric and Sajata

  8. I am praying for you both and especially baby Howie. Brandon, you were cracking me up with the school supplies. I can totally see you freaking out and laughing. May the Lord continue to give you peace. Just remember...all things work together for good for those that love him...