Monday, October 31, 2011

Hospital Entry #5

10/31/2011      9:23 a.m    (Facebook entry written while in the hospital)

I have no words today. I feel like Steven and I are just trying to stay out of the rat wheels in our minds. We find ourselves going round and round in our heads with all the thoughts of what "might be" today and truth be told, it is at times, immobilizing.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Team Brynn Finn


*shirt and concept designed by the wonderful staff at Woodcreek Healthcare:   “Team Brynn Finn”

Hospital Entry #4

10/30/2011       6:57 a.m    (Facebook entry written while in the hospital)

Yesterday was a hard day. Especially for me. I had many an "ugly cry" as I tried to make sense of our crazy new reality. 

First though, a medical update: 

Brynn did get taken off of the cooling cap and by a bit after noon, she was back to normal body temp. I would love to report that she opened her eyes and began moving a whole lot more, but this was not the case. 

She did, however, begin triggering many more respirations on her own and is currently being "challenged" (weaned) from the ventilator. She also continues to have stable blood gasses which indicate good oxygen exchange. 

Her umbilical arterial line was discontinued as well. It's one less thing poking out of her and that makes us happy. :0)

 Blood sugars remain stable as well, and bowel tones are present (now we set our hopes on poop). ;0)


 Like I said before, it was a very hard day for me. A definite low point in the process, I think. I am realizing though, (through the help of my amazingly present husband) that in order for us to "do this thing" I am going to have to let it all go. Sounds so cliche, doesn't it? But it's the one truth. I cannot continue to hold onto "how good our life was prior to all this", and "how are we possibly going to fit this new life into the mold of the old one?" There is no longer a "then", there is only "right now." This is our life. We have a daughter in NICU, and she is more than likely going to have some pretty significant needs. 

Yesterday, this realization made me angry and I was experiencing a level of sadness that was far more debilitating than anything I've ever previously known. I cried so hard so many times yesterday. I broke emotionally into tiny, shattered pieces and truly experienced what it is to despair. I wanted on some very internal level to go to sleep and stay that way. Sleep, up until this point, has been the only way I have escaped the bitter reality of the current situation. But what is the end result of sleep? Awakening.  

Awakening to the same reality that was there before the "escape". The same cold, hard truths continued to face me. Our new life was requiring me to face the facts, and the thought of doing so terrified me. I felt like in doing so, everything we have worked so hard for, would be for naught. 

As I sobbed and broke and felt myself giving into the panic, Steven took me into his arms and said, "join me in the middle of the pool". "Let go of the edge, stop trying to get out, and come join me in the middle. We will tread water waiting for the way to show itself and then we will swim together toward our new life." When I told him I didn't think I could let go of "before" he replied with, "you have to. In time Laura, if you don't, you will go crazy trying to get out." He told me he would wait for me in "the middle" and when I was ready, we would do this new thing together. 

He is so right. The longer I resist this, the more desperate I become. 

So late last night, I felt a change. I am going to join my love in the middle of the pool and we are going to swim together toward whatever direction our hearts tell us is right. 

I've known for a long time that Steven is a wonderful man, but the amount of love and admiration I have for him has grown exponentially as he helps me see the possibility of being able to survive in this "new life". Together. We are going to do this together. There is no other way. 

People have been so kind with their feedback to the other updates, claiming Brynna has the fight of her mother in her. What I want people to know as well is that Brynn's father is one of the very main reasons her mother can stand up and embrace this new life. 

Please say a prayer for Steven. Send him wishes of continued strength of heart and help him to know what an amazing part he plays in our "new life".

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hospital Entry #3

10/29/2011       2:49 a.m   (Facebook entry written while in the hospital)

It is 2:10 in the morning on Saturday and I was just awoken to take my middle of the night round of meds. I am so hopeful that in the weeks to come I will continue to be awoken at 2 a.m (and 4 a.m, and 6 a.m....). Instead of waking up to take meds though, I so hope I wake up in response to Brynn who is hungry and relying on me, her momma, to feed her. 

Earlier tonight, and also intermittently now, as I sit here in the quiet of my hospital room, every short while the first few strands of Brahhm's Lullaby come across the speaker system indicating that another baby has just been born at this hospital. 

Brynn was delivered at St. Joseph's hospital, and was then transferred here to Tacoma General. I don't know if St Joe's does something similar or not in regard to playing music when a baby is born. Regardless, I was asleep in surgert at the time of my daughter's birth and I "missed her chimes". I missed her music. 

Later this morning, beginning at 9 a.m, the NICU nurses will begin the 4 hour process of taking our baby of the "coolcap" and returning her head to normal temperature. Thus will begin the ability to assess where she stands neurologically, and on Monday she will have a full assessment by a pediatric neurologist. He/she will be able to tell us the extent to which they feel the traumatic labor affected her brain function. We will then begin to formulate a plan of where and how to go forward in the care of our sweet baby girl. 

My hope is that this process is just the beginning of Brynna Elizabeth Finnegan's "re"birth. I pray that as she warms and her brain returns to normal temperature, she gradually, and oh so gently, awakens to her life and the love that is all around her. There was nothing gentle about the way that she was initially introduced to this life, but I am sincerely hopeful that for our sweet Brynna's "rebirth" she will come out of the cold and into the light, open her eyes to see her loving mommy and daddy right there at her side, singing her her own "Brahmm's Lullaby". 

If there was ever a time for prayer, my dear friends, this is it. Please, I beg of you, pray, think, sing, state your wishes and intentions for Brynn to have an amazing rebirth. We lean so heavily now on this faith that our daughter will, in time, be okay. You all are the reasons we keep this faith and we call on you again now to keep her in your hearts. 

This stands to be a very big day. Sing with us.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hospital Entry #2

10/27/2011      10:53 pm    (Facebook entry written while in the hospital)

Awe inspired hope. This term best defines Day 2. Our baby girl has been with us just shy of two full days and already the effect she has had on us is mighty. And the force of hope, love and support shown by more people than we can begin to count, is the one and only thing holding our family together. At this very new and raw point in our life, Steven and I don't have anything else to really grasp ahold of other than hope. 

Today we were given some reasons to hope. Early this morning, we got a call from Brynn's night nurse that they had inserted a urinary catheter and had gotten a generous return of urine. This was reason to rejoice as it illustrates that our baby girl has kidney function, and at least for now, we are avoiding acute renal failure. 

Later this morning Brynn was extubated for a short time and was able to sustain her breathing on only 2 liters supplemental oxygen via nasal canula. Again, we were given reason to hope. A bit later, however, the breathing tube was reinserted as Brynn is not strong enough in this sedated state to take frequent and deep enough breaths on her own. So we wait in hope that maybe in another day or so she will have enough strength to begin breathing again on her own. 

Brynna has moved her feet and toes a few times in response to light touch which, although a primitive neurological sign, does give us hope that she will neurologically continue to improve. 

Later this afternoon we were also informed she has bowel tones (hope for a functioning digestive/intestinal system) as well as stabilizing blood sugars (hope for an intact endocrine system). 

At one very distinct point in the day I was talking to Brynn and she moved and breathed in such a way that gave me the first distinct hope I have had yet that she can hear us. I believe our sweet daughter hears us when we speak to her and knows our love when we touch her, and I continue to hope that when the time comes and she opens her eyes, she will recognize us. 

So many times through our day we feel we may be grasping at straws, and it is very easy for us to begin to feel hopeless. When we get good news, we are careful and remain guarded as we hope the very good news will not be followed by the very bad. The love and support that each and every person has shown us since we first shared our story, and the distance that your hope and faith span, help restore our faith and hope that our baby will continue to improve. Thank you so much for the thoughts and prayers, and please keep them coming. 

Please send your love and hopes of healing and recovery. 

Cole, Aidan and Jack met their little sister today and it was a beautiful thing. One of my most sincere hopes is that this is a relationship that will be granted the privilege of a lifetime to grow and flourish. I want nothing more than for our boys to have a little sister to shower with their love. 

Tomorrow we will start another day of our new role as NICU parents. We hope and pray that we continue to be blessed by improvements in our little girl's health, and again we are humbled by the amazing force you all are having on our hearts. You are the instillers of hope and we beg of you, "keep it coming"!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hospital Entry #1

10/26/2011   10:49 pm    (Facebook entry written while in the hospital)

Steven and I are overwhelmed with the love and support we have been shown in regard to Brynn today. An update to fill you in...

Brynna Elizabeth was born via emergency c-section 10/26/2011 at 4:14 a.m. My uterus ruptured and split on the side the placenta was attached to, and our baby girl was not breathing and didn't have a strong heart beat when they got her out so she was intubated and taken to the neonatal ICU at Tacoma General/Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma. They had to remove my uterus and ovaries as well. 

Brynn is still intubated and on the ventilator (although tonight we got word her spontaneous breathing is improving slightly). They have also placed what they call a "coolcap" on her head, which essentially slows things down in her body and allows her brain to recover more effectively from the episode of oxygen deprivation. She will have this treatment for 72 hours and then have an EEG as well as a full neurological assessment. She is also on phenobarbitol to manage any possible seizure activity. Brynn has not yet opened her eyes, had much spontaneous movement, or had any urine output.

  We are praying for healing. We are praying for peace (for our little girl as well as our family and friends). We are praying that in time we will take a fully recovered, full of life, little girl home. Please continue to send all of your thoughts and prayers up, on Brynn's behalf. We need all the positive energy we can get at this time.