The answer ended up being 28, and it wasn’t even close. Because Brady’s due date and my birthday were so close together, we wondered how old I would be when I became a mom. Continue reading “28 or 29?”
The first piece of clothing we bought Brady John was a onesie to help us announce his upcoming arrival. At the time that we ordered it, we didn’t know that Brady was a boy, so I ordered a cheery yellow-striped onesie and figured it would work whether we had a boy or a girl. We chose “Schmitz Just Got Real” as a funny play on words. When you have a child, shit does get real and we thought this was a fun way to share that things would never be the same as they were before.
We drove over to my mom’s house in order for her to take the picture that I would post on Facebook to announce my pregnancy. Jeff and I planned that I would look super excited in the photo, and he would put on his best nervous face. I think we did pretty well.
You’ve already heard my thoughts on pregnancy announcements here, and now I think it’s time to discuss another, somewhat related, trigger. The dreaded baby shower. Keep in mind, I’ve never been a huge fan of showers… but I have also not dreaded them until now.
I think some of these situations happen because we’re into the 5th month since Brady passed away. Those peripheral people in my life have started to forget that I experienced a loss.
It’s hard to believe that we should have a 6 month old at home. Not a day goes by that I don’t imagine what Brady would be like, and what milestones he would be hitting. I googled “3 month milestones” (with Brady being a micro-preemie, his adjusted age would be 3 months) and laughed when I saw that one of them was “supports upper body with arms while lying on stomach”. Our 4 day old micro-preemie did that… well, for at least a couple of seconds. Those other babies must be some serious slackers. (You can read that story here if you missed it) Maybe adjusted age wouldn’t have been much of a factor with our little badass. That’s just one of the many “maybes” that I’ll never be able to answer.
I am grateful for my life, and sad that my son isn’t here. Those two things are not mutually exclusive feelings, and while that might not sound earth-shattering, it has taken several months for me to come to this realization.
Recently, I read an article about a young, healthy woman, Lauren Bloomstein, (a NICU nurse, actually) who died from HELLP Syndrome. (It’s long, but you can read it here if you want). While I had a very short amount of time to accept my diagnosis, I’ve always understood the gravity of HELLP Syndrome, and how sick I was in the hours before I delivered Brady. However, it’s taken me several months to come to terms with the fact that the decision to deliver wasn’t a decision of my life or Brady’s, it was a decision that was best for both of us. HELLP is not a slow killer, and had I not been under the care of competent doctors, I truly believe I wouldn’t have made it long.
The day Brady passed away, my parents and sister came over to see me and Jeff. I know that Jeff and I did not want any visitors, but it was one of those times where they said they were coming over and we knew there would be no way to stop it.
I can’t remember much of what was said, as I was in some serious shock, but I do remember my dad telling us a story of a dream he had right after his mom passed away. He and his mom were very close, and my dad was heartbroken when she suddenly passed. Shortly after she’d passed, my grandmother came to him in a dream and embraced him. He asked her to come back and she said she couldn’t and that she was where she needed to be. The dream was so vivid that my dad could actually physically feel her embrace.
It dawned on me last night, as I listened to a friend talk about how they chose their baby’s name on a podcast, that I hadn’t shared how we came up with Brady John’s name. I even looked back at my earlier blog posts to make sure. There’s a brief mention of why we chose John, but otherwise, nothing. Like most stories, there are two sides. In this case, I’ll share mine and my husband’s.
This story is of the first time Brady showed himself to us after he left our earthly world. It happened in the early morning hours after he had passed away. Jeff and I had spent a few hours at the hospital with Brady, and then had made the drive home. I don’t remember it at all.
When we arrived at home, it was still very early in the morning. Probably sometime between 4 and 5 AM. We knew we needed to call our families, but we weren’t quite ready and it was just really early still. We decided to try to get some sleep. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know sleep is near impossible. We had only slept for maybe an hour and a half before we were called into the hospital, so our bodies and minds were exhausted.
I mentioned in my post on Brady’s last week of life (here) that on our last night with him, he had given us some reassurance before we left. I call it his way of saying “goodbye” now, but if I would have known that at the time, I would never have left his side. Brady reassured us. He had this uncanny ability to settle his mama’s fears, and make me feel that everything would be okay.
Brady’s last day was so tough, between his infection and his lungs, he’d had a really rough day. They typically would want his oxygenation up above 87%, but due to his “sticky lungs” (or Hyaline Membrane Disease, if you’re wanting to be technical) it was hard to keep his oxygenation at that level. The nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists did their best, but Brady hovered in the upper 70s for most of the day.
I’m sure you can all tell by now that I think my son is seriously amazing. This story is one of the things I go back to when I think of all the ways Brady seemed to defy everyone’s expectations from the very beginning.
I think Brady was only about 4 days old when this happened. I only know that because of the time-stamped photos I have on my cell phone. My record-keeping wasn’t the greatest for the first few days of Brady’s life. For the first 3 days of life, Brady had to be positioned midline, so there wasn’t a lot of creativity in how he got to lay in his isolette. It’s another precaution they take for babies born so prematurely, to prevent brain bleeds. After the first 3 days, Brady got to try lots of new positions, including some tummy time.