Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sydney Grace Update - 3 Days Old

Wow! Well, so many things have changed since I last posted, I don't even know where to begin. I'll start with it's Wednesday afternoon, I'm in the hospital with Erin, Faith & Ben. And little Sydney Grace is downstairs on a ventilator, fighting for her life.

So, I'll start from the beginning. Last Sunday.

I remember being very tired that morning. Ben, as always, came to get me up right at 8:00. I got up and got ready and called Erin at the hospital. This was the big day! She had made it to Sunday! The day we had been waiting for! Sydney had defied the odds by staying in Erin for so long, and we were very excited that the doctors finally could do something for her. This was the day Erin was scheduled to receive her first steroid injection, Sunday. The day before, Saturday, the kids and I had a great visit with Erin. Probably the best visit we'd had thus far. Marty and Judy (Erin's parents) came up to visit and we just had a really great time considering the circumstances. So, when I called Erin Sunday morning, I was immediately surprised by her voice when she answered the phone. It was the first time in a while that she didn't sound good. Erin went on to tell me that she was hurting all over. Her back was hurting. Her head was hurting. She was just feeling crummy. I told her that she was probably just a little achy from being in bed for so long and it would pass. I also told her that I was on my way up to the hospital with the kids. She told me not to bring the kids because she felt so crummy. I'm so glad I didn't bring them.

When I got to the hospital that day, Erin looked pretty bad. She was pale. She was emotional. She was scared. We both feared the worst: That she had developed and infection and they would have to deliver the baby because of it. The nurse (Barbie) kept coming in to check her temp and it kept coming back fine. 97.9. 98.2. 98.6. Even so, Erin knew something was wrong. I felt so helpless. My wife was hurting, she looked miserable. She just kept shifting around in the bed, trying to get comfortable, but she couldn't. Something was wrong.

After about 2 hours of this, things went from bad to worse. Fast. I felt Erin's forehead and she was burning up. She had tons of blankets and covers and she had pulled them up all the way to her chin. She looked like a kid with the flu. I felt terrible for her. I took her temperature, and in 30 minutes or less she had gone from 98.6 to 101!! This was a very hard moment because we knew Sydney was going to have to be With tears in her eyes, and in mine, I looked at Erin and told her that no matter what happens, everything was going to be OK.

Right after that she started feeling some major leaking. As if her water broke again. The nurse came in and pulled back the covers. There was blood everywhere. The nurse called all the other nurses to the room and it was like a scene from ER. After I saw the blood, it was not long before I was in the bathroom vomiting my lunch up. I have never reacted that way to seeing blood, but it was so much and combined with the emotion, I just lost it. Literally... Before I could get out of the bathroom Erin had been taken down to labor and delivery.

I found out where Erin was and immediately headed down there. I found her very quickly and the scene from ER continued. There were at least 5 or 6 nurses and doctors working on Erin. It was so crazy! I was just totally overwhelmed. Erin was getting very scared. At one point she even asked "Am I in danger?" The nurse gave a very unconvincing "Yes." We would find out why she was so unconvincing later. Adding to the intensity and fear of the current situation, one nurse was working on finding Sydney's heartbeat. To give you a point of reference, when the nurses would come in and check on Sydney in a normal situation, they would find it usually within 5 to 10 seconds. This nurse tried to find it for 10 minutes and nothing. Erin and I thought we had lost her. We couldn't believe it. We spoke to each other about why this was happening? Why had God brought us this far only to lose her? Why did we have to go through ALL of this only for it to end so horribly. Why, why, why? We couldn't understand.

Right before they took Erin into surgery, I grabbed Erin's face with both of my hands and we just looked at each other. We had tears streaming down both of our faces, and I told her that no matter what happens, no matter what, we were going to get through this. They whisked her away and I asked if I could come with her, they told me no. I yelled "I love you!" Erin yelled back, "I love you too!" and that was it. Erin and Sydney were gone. Everyone was gone.

I sat there in this room with bloody sheets on the floor, papers and towels all over the room. The machines beeping like crazy. I sat there by myself with my thoughts. I'll never forget this moment as long as I live. I didn't know if I would see Erin again, I was pretty sure I would never get to meet my new daughter. It was the loneliest feeling of my life. That turned out to be rock bottom.

You know that feeling that you get after you cry a lot? That feeling like nothing else can hurt you? That feeling of numbness? That's how I felt for the next several hours. Numb. I'm sure the people I called for updates were amazed at my "strength" or how "calm" I was. Not the case. I was a wreck.

After what felt like an eternity someone came out to tell me that Sydney had made it! She was small, and in danger, but she was alive! I couldn't believe it! I was so thankful! What about Erin though? She was still in surgery and they actually asked me if I was sure if we wanted to go through with "tying her tubes". I emphatically said, "YES". It was the right decision to make. Dr. Howard came in and told me that Erin was fine. She had made it through the surgery perfectly. Finally some good news!! Both my girls had made it! Dr. Howard went on to say that Erin had what is called a placenta abruption. It turns out that the placenta abruption had nothing to do with losing her amniotic fluid! In fact, had she not been in the hospital because of the water breaking, Sydney would not have made it. Not only that, but Erin would have been in serious trouble as well. Can you imagine if she was home alone when this happened? Thank God she was in the hospital. What turned out to be our "curse" was actually a HUGE blessing. We questioned and questioned God about her water breaking. Why God? Why? Well, only to save both Erin and Sydney's lives. Unbelievable. Thank you Lord! Another miracle! Dr. Howard also told me that had we not gotten her tubes tied, he would have strongly suggested for us to NOT have another baby. Erin has significant scar tissue built up from her previous C-Sections. This would cause serious problems if she was to get pregnant again.

I was able to go see Erin for the first time after her surgery. She was so out of it. She asked me when they were going to do the surgery. I told her they had already done it. She asked me when they were going to put the tube down her throat to help her breathe. I told her they had already done that to. Then all she could talk about was Sydney. She asked me if she was OK and how much see weighed three times each. I was thankfully able to tell her that Sydney made it and she weighed 1 lb 8 0z. Yep, 24 oz. Think of that for a second. Think of your 20 oz bottle of coke, and then think of how Sydney must look. It is an absolute miracle that she survived. Thank you God!

After I saw Erin for just a few minutes they asked me to go wait in her room for her to get out of recovery. I kept asking and kept asking about Sydney. They kept saying, she was stable but I couldn't see her. Stable? What's stable for a 24 week old baby? Luckily, Erin's family was here to kind of take my mind off of things. And, my dad was on his way. That made me feel a lot better.

Finally, they told me I could see Sydney Grace for the first time. I tried my best to prepare myself for the way she looked. I walked in, and they made me wash my hands for 3 minutes from elbow to fingertip before I could go in. I'm not going to lie. I was very nervous to see her. As I walked into the NICU, I was greeted by Sydney's nurse and I got my first look at our new baby. She was beautiful! She was obviously very, very small but beautiful. She looked just like a perfectly proportioned baby girl. Just smaller. How small? Her foot is the same size as Erin's thumbprint. I could probably put my wedding ring around her thigh. Her head is about as big as a tennis ball. But, she has huge feet and long monkey toes! Just like her daddy! I was looking at God's latest miracle. It was pretty shocking, but not as bad as I thought. I took several pictures, but it was hard to see her because she was enclosed in this case. Basically an incubator. They are trying to simulate the womb as best as they can.

Her doctor came to see us and said that she was "OK". She looked "OK" and that she was doing "OK". He was very cautious to give us any false hope. Hey, at that point, I was happy with "OK". Just hours before I thought we had lost her.

I spent the rest of the night with Erin, but she was so out of it from the medication. Before she got too loopy we agreed that it would be best for me to go home so I could take Faith to her first day of school in the morning. I came home and tried to comprehend what had just happened. All I could think, was my wife was fine and my new baby was "OK". I was very, very thankful for that. Thank you God!! I was so emotionally and mentally drained I went to bed very early that night and slept restlessly. Any noise I woke up to because I thought it was a phone call about Erin or Sydney. But, no phone call came.

The next morning, I woke up and took Faith to her first day of Kindergarten. Yep, we are dealing with that too. I felt really bad for Faith because I felt like this hurt her big day. Obviously, there was nothing we could do. She did great anyway. I was able to get some good pics and video of her before I took her to school. She acted so goofy! I think it was some sort of nervous reaction. Nervous energy maybe? It was pretty funny and very cute.

I was anxious to get back up to the hospital to see Erin and Sydney. When I got there Erin was much more alert and doing much better. She still hadn't seen Sydney though, and she was very anxious to do that. While waiting on going down to see Syd, we spoke to her doctor. He had good news! Sydney had been taking off the "heavy duty" ventilator and put on a less powerful one. This was great news considering it hadn't even been 24 hours!! He did however tell us that Sydney's blood pressure was low and he was going to do a sonogram on her brain. We asked why he wanted to do this, and he said it was a common procedure with all babies born this early. There is a possibility that Sydney could have a bleed in her brain. The results could vary from no bleed at all, to a bleed that is so bad that basically she would not survive. This was hard to take, but we were very hopeful that everything would come out OK. He said we should get the results Monday night or Tuesday morning. We anxiously waited for the news. By the way, we are learning that in the NICU, no news is good news.

She was also put on blood pressure medication on Monday. I don't know how much she was taking, but I know the number was a 10 and in order for her to start eating breast milk the number had to be a 5.

Erin was able to get up and walk around Monday following her painful surgery. This enabled her to go see Sydney. Finally! I told her to prepare herself because she was small. I also told her that I really thought she looked better than I thought she would. When Erin saw her for the first time, she was pretty speechless. She just couldn't believe how small she was. We spent a good while down there with Sydney and one of the many wonderful nurses in the NICU. She told us that Sydney was doing great, and was giving them very little work to do. Great news! Still anxious about the brain sono though. Monday night came and went, no news on the brain sono.

I called Erin first thing Tuesday morning and she said she had just gotten off the phone with Sydney's doctor. Great news again! The brain sono came back with no bleeds! Praise God! Additionally, throughout the night they had been working to get her off the blood pressure medication. She was at a 10 on Monday and a ZERO Tuesday! This meant that she could start receiving breast milk!

I could give you a detailed account of Tuesday and Wednesday, but I'm going to wrap it up here. Thankfully, we have received nothing but good news so far. Erin did have to get two units of blood today because her blood count was low. Kind of weird for her to get a transfusion, but it was necessary. Sydney continues to do great! We are so thankful for God's grace for giving her to us and taking such great care of her. It's tough having your little baby in a bubble, not being able to hold her or care for her, but she's here! She's alive! She's doing great!

Prayerfully, Syd will be taken off the ventilator sometime soon and gain some weight. We were told that the first 72 hours were very critical. Well, we are now at hour 80 and Sydney is still doing great. The only explanation for her being here and healthy is our God. Thank you Lord for taking care of our little baby. I thank you all so much for your kind emails, phone calls, texts & prayers. Please continue to pray for our little Sydney as God continues to leave us speechless everyday.


  1. Brandon - another great post. I'm all tears and goosebumps. What a big God we serve. We will continue to pray for you and sweet Sydney Grace!

  2. I'm bawling too! What an awesome God! We're praising Him with you for how wonderfully He cared for Erin and baby Sydney! We will continue to pray for strong lungs and weight gain! Love you guys!
    The McCollums

  3. I have never read a post and wept like I am now. WOW! What an amazing, awesome, all-knowing, LOVING God we serve! I am drawn to worship after reading this and isn't that what God desires?...that through ALL things we are drawn to worship Him? May God continue to bring honor and glory to His name through Sydney's sweet life and through you and Erin as you share her amazing story with faith and hope in the One who has such wonderful plans for her.

    Know that the Buntings are praying for you! We have also metioned your name to our church family here and several friends who are also praying!

    love and LOTS of prayers,
    The Buntings

  4. Hi Brandon! Even though I am crying, I am smiling! I can't fathom everything you and Erin are going through, but I know that your faith will keep you both strong. Sydney is truly a miracle! Please tell Erin that I love her and that I am thinking of all of you every minute of every day. Depending on how things are going I would love to visit this weekend. I will call you later in the week. Love to ALL FIVE of you!!! Amanda

  5. We have many angels here and afar praying for this little girl. We love you all so much Brandon. please call and if you need me I am there in a flash!
    Love you Aunt Tina and Uncle Steve
    And yes Our Lord is great!

  6. WOW. What an amazing story of God giving life and hope to his children. I had tears in my eyes the whole time. I can't wait to meet Sidney!

  7. Hello, I'm Vivian, Chad and Heather's friend. My husband, Greg, married them (and doesn't THAT sound weird!). I read your story and am praying for you and your little one. Precious. God is good!