Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Braylon's birth story!

The first half of my pregnancy was like that of most; filled with excitement, anxiety, expanding waistline, morning sickness and raging hunger pains. The halfway mark took us down an unforeseen road, a road that lead us straight into the arms of one of the most precious gifts we have been given...

Like I said the first 20 weeks of pregnancy where normal, morning sickness for the first 3 months (first trimester) and no abnormal cravings. Ben and I were both fully convinced that we were having a girl, Marley was going to be the name, I had peach and cream paint samples taped to the wall of the "nursery". The morning of our 20 week ultrasound Ben reveled that he thought we were wrong, he thought we were having a boy, I was in disbelief, our baby was a girl, I had been talking to "her" calling "her" Marley, telling "her" about all the fun things we would do in "her" life.
As I laid on the ultrasound table, the tech said that she wanted to do a trans-vaginal ultrasound, so I could empty my very full bladder, such a relief. When I returned to the table an OB doctor walked into the room and proceeded to inform us that our little boy had a abdominal condition and it looked like he had his intestines floating outside of his body. All the air was sucked from my lungs, I gasped for air and told him I thought he had the wrong room... He took a look and verified that he was in fact in the correct room. He went on to inform us that we would have to deliver in the Cities and that he would call and have someone from Abbott Northwestern call us with appointment information within the next couple of days... DAYS!
I was in complete shock, I had such a rush of emotions... At the top of the list were, betrayal, fear, guilt and anger! I didn't know anything about the disorder, I didn't know what meant for our little boy. Everyone around me was having healthy, normal pregnancies and here I was having a baby that had his intestines floating outside his body... It was unfair, we should have been over the moon that we were having a little boy, but it was overshadowed by his condition, Gastroschisis.

A brief explanation of Gastroschisis: It is a condition that occurs due to a disruption of blood flow between 8-12 weeks of gestation; it is not hereditary or genetic, the cause is unknown. There is no research being done for the disorder in the United States. Australia has started doing research a few years ago, with little findings.

Due to our babies condition we  had to travel to the cities once a week for the duration of my pregnancy, so we could have non-stress tests and level 2 ultrasounds. I got to see my baby every week, see him change, develop, grow; I got to find joy in an otherwise undesirable situation.
At my 33 week appointment we got to see where Braylon, we finally decided on a name the week before, would spend a good portion of his "newborn" life. We were going to deliver at Abbott Northwestern and he would be transferred, through the tunnel, to Children's hospital of Minneapolis. We had a great experience, everyone was amazing and it made me feel a little bit better about the detour in our road. On our way home, 1pm, I started having contractions. I was told by every person I spoke with that they were Braxton Hicks Contractions and that I should make sure to drink lots of fluids. I took their advice and rested and drank plenty of water, but by 11pm I could not sit still, I knew something was wrong. We went into the hospital in New Ulm a little after 11pm and to our disbelief I was 2 cm dilated and 90% effaced; they got the ambulance ready to drive me back to the cities, it was the wee hours in the morning of Wednesday August 6th. They put me on Magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions; I laid in a bed being monitored day after day, the plan was to have me get to 36 weeks before delivering. On Saturday August 9th, our doctor told us that we were going to be moved to a monitoring floor for two more weeks, until he was more developed and ready to be delivered. I informed the doctor that I was having contractions and that I was bleeding a lot. We were all shocked to find out that I was 8 cm dilated and fully effaced. He wouldn't wait two more weeks, we would deliver today. I was instantly taken off of the Mag Sulfate and given an epidural, I tried to go without it, but my husband insisted. We waited for a delivery room to be set up and staffed, when you are dealing with a child that has his organs on the outside of his body, you need to have a delivery room, it was straight out of the 70's (I think I even said that to the doctor, it made for a good laugh). At 7:13pm Braylon Max Jensen entered the world, 4 pounds 7 oz and 18 3/4 inches long. He resembled an old wrinkled man, too skinny and excessive skin hanging everywhere! I got to see him, kiss him, tell him I loved him and then he and Ben were on their way to Children's hospital. Braylon was in surgery before 8pm to put his intestines back where they belonged, inside him.
We got to bring Braylon home after 25 days at Children's; he has NEVER looked back :)

(If someone would have told me this would be the last time I would be bored for the rest of my life, I would have enjoyed it a little more!)

Ben was by my side through it all, 5 days of just sitting in the hospital...

We passed the time with Sudoku, Rummy 500 and Fresh Prince of Bel Air reruns.

Right before we went into the delivery room.

Happy birth day our Grumpy Old Man!

Proud Daddy!

This was the next day, he looked so much better. Adorable wasn't he :)

On day two I got to hold him for the first time!

Daddy got to hold him too!

First family picture, we are a pretty good looking family!

He got to get his tan on! He still lays in the sun like this...

The day we got to go home, Braylon got to know life outside is 6x6 room!

These two were relieved to be home together!

Looking back on the journey that we went through with this little boy, I know without a doubt that God does not give us more then we can handle. I was angry when we first found out that Braylon had Gastroschisis; after it is all said and done, I am no longer angry, I am grateful. I saw children in the hospital that would never get to go home, that would not know life outside those 4 walls. So at the end of the day, one surgery and 25 days was little price to pay for a lifetime of love, happiness and those amazing bear hugs he gives!


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