After Brecken came off from the cooling blanket,
and he had his MRI done, Torry and I waited. This was the last test they had to
do before figuring out everything that was going on. Finally. We weren’t going to have to wait that much
longer. Finally there was an end to the tunnel. Finally we were going to figure it out what it is we need to do
to make Brecken better.
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 Brecken was one week old. This was
the day we planned to meet with the team of Dr’s. 4:30pm was the time.
We were escorted down the hall from Brecken and into a conference room. The first thing I noticed
when we walked in was the box of tissues in the middle of the long table. My heart just sank. I knew
instantly that we were not going to be hearing good news in this room.
Among those in the room with us, there were some familiar and unfamiliar faces. The current
NICU nurse who was taking care of Brecken was in there, the Neonatologist, two fellow Dr’s, and two members
from the Neurology team. The Neonatologist had everyone introduce themselves. After knowing who was who,
Torry and I were asked, firstly, what we knew of Brecken and his condition at the moment. There wasn’t much we did
know besides the fact that he went a long time without oxygen, he has no gag-reflex, and there were some concerns
about his movements and lack there of of them. Then he gave the floor to the Neurologist.
Her head was bowed down when she started. Another indication that what she was about to
say was not good news. I remember looking at her like “Please. Please don’t let this be as bad as you’re making
it look. I don’t want this news, please don’t deliver it to me.” She began at the basics. She talked
about her observation and tests she performed on him physically the other day and how he scored very low
on everything. She talked about the other Dr’s, who performed some tests on him, (physical therapists of some sorts-I
forget their titles)
and how he scored vey low on their tests as well. Then she got into his MRI results.
Picture by picture she showed us the images taken of his brain. So far everything was ok. But the further
we got into the images, the color of his brain went from grey, to white. White is not good.
When we got to the white part, she explained to us that this is the area of his brain that had been damaged.
All of the white was the part of his brain that received no oxygen. This white part of his brain was
Brecken’s brain stem. For those of you who don’t know, your brain stem pretty much controls everything.
Torry and I were holding hands. Fingers interlaced. I was squeezing his so hard my knuckles went white.
I began to cry. Oh the tears started pouring down, but I tried to keep my composure so that the Neurologist
could continue on without me wailing. So I sat and let the tears constantly roll down as I finished listening
to what she had to say.
We were then told that this kind of brain damage was irreversible. There is no fixing him. She
went on to explain that with this type of brain injury, Brecken sits at the severest end of the scale of seriousness.
More tears flooded.
This is where we learned that Brecken would never be able to walk.
He’d never be able to talk.
He’d never be able to swallow.
He’d never be able to breathe 100% on his own.
The Dr’s said Brecken would never be able to comprehend what he sees or hears.
He most likely would have no idea who we, his parents, were.
I couldn’t contain myself further.
The tears were rolling hot down my cheeks.
I could barely see because they were coming out so fast and so much.
The Dr’s went on…
Brecken would need 24/7 care because his secretions would need to be suctioned due to him
not having the ability to swallow.
Because he can’t swallow, he’d need surgery for a permanent feeding tube.
Brecken was said to be a Spastic Quadriplegic.
His movements would be uncontrolled.
He’d develop severe Cerebral Palsy which would most likely lead to him needing surgery later
in life to have his tendons cut to loosen his muscles back up.
He would possibly have seizures.
He’d be looking at a life of constant in and out of the hospital
due to developing pneumonia from fluid build up in his lungs from the secretions that couldn’t
get sucked up. We were told this could ultimately be what killed him if we kept him on
all of this 24/7 care.
We were then given the results from the EEG.
We were told there was virtually no brain activity going on.
There was only a tiny spark of something every 30 seconds on average.
We were told babies die at a span of 40 seconds in between brain activity.
In Brecken’s case, the cooling blanket didn’t improve anything. His brain
activity after the EEG was the same as when he first got on it.
After everything was said and the last bit of information was delivered, Torry asked
if we could be alone at this time. All of the Dr’s gave their condolences and silently left the room.
The moment the door closed I began to cry even harder and louder. The sobs were uncontrollable. The pain
was too much. I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe that this has happened to our son. How could
everything have gone so wrong when everything was so right in the beginning? I felt so horrible thinking back to
my pregnancy with him. I felt horrible that he had normal abilities prior to being pulled out of me and that
now this is what his life is. He could do more and knew more while inside of me. He could suck his thumb, and play
with his toes. We know, because we saw
him do it on the ultrasound when we found out he was a boy. Now, outside of me, these are things he cannot do. His
brain won’t ever tell him to do them again. It just completely broke my heart.
After collecting ourselves, we went back to Brecken’s room. I needed to hold him again. Hold him so
tight in hopes that it could somehow ease his suffering. After so long, Torry urged us to leave and get
Back at the Ronald McDonald house, Torry and I just laid in bed and held each other as we
absorbed the information that was delivered to us. We both had agreed there that this was was no life
for him. We knew what that meant and it hurt even more to think of it.
We went to bed that night as broken souls.