Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The First Dirty Diaper

Well, for those of you that don’t spend a ton of time in the hospital after your little one is born, dirty diapers are just that, and get thrown away without a second thought. They are a nuisance.

But for those of us that have spent weeks or months in the hospital, dirty diapers are to be kept, per the nurses request, to be weighed to make sure your little one is getting enough food, and digesting everything properly.

As a parent of a baby in the NICU, I cherished the little things that I could do that resembled being a normal parent; including changing diapers. I got used to saving the diapers, yes, even the poopy ones. We would save every single diaper for the nurses so they could chart everything about Brendan. We got so used to doing this day in and day out that we didn’t even give it a second thought.

After 82 days of being in the hospital, we got to take Brendan home. I remember the drive home with him in the car. I sat in the back seat with him just to make sure that everything was okay. Jeff took side streets home just to be safe. It took us about 25 minutes to get from Orange to Irvine, and once we got home it took us even longer to get everything out of the car and up to our 3rd floor apartment.

We took pictures of Brendan outside the house with each one of us, and then again inside the house. He started to get fussy and it dawned on me that he must have a dirty diaper. So I got everything together: wipes, diapers, waterproof changing mat, and Brendan, and I changed his diaper. Then I walked over to the trash can and threw it away. It was the best feeling. We were free!

No more nurses (although that thought scared me a little), no more doctors hovering, no more nurses aids waking up Brendan to take his temperature, no more beeping machines, no more charting, and no more saving dirty diapers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear Brendan

Dear Brendan,
I never got to teach you the things that a mom is supposed to teach her son because you went to heaven too soon. So here is a list of the things that you need to know while you grow up in heaven.

·         Put God first in everything that you do
o   This should be easy for you, because you see him on a daily basis. You are one of the lucky ones that gets to hang out with God before the rest of us.
o   A word of advice: always let God cut in front of you in line for the slide. The first may be last and the last first when it comes to heaven, but this doesn’t count when it comes to God. Let the dude go first.

·         Eat your fruit and vegetables
o   I know that you now have a perfect body and you probably don’t have to worry about eating healthy. But it is important to take care of it.
o   A word of advice: stay away from apple trees. It’s a long story, ask God about his history with apple trees sometime. I am sure that he won’t mind telling you the story.

·         Be a gentleman
o   Open the door for girls. Trust me, we like it when you do that. We appreciate the little things that you do for us.
o   A word of advice: don’t stand at the pearly gates and hold the door open for the ladies. Peter gets mad when you bogart his job responsibilities.

·         Sing loud!
o   I hear that there is a lot of singing up in heaven. You like singing and should have fun.
o   A word of advice: if you don’t know the words, smile and nod and mouth watermelon over and over. It is an old trick of the trade. God won’t get mad, he will appreciate your efforts. Just make sure you learn the words eventually. No one likes a lazy choir member.

·         Playing in the mud
o   Have fun playing in the mud. Make sure that you get really really dirty. The dirtier you get, the more fun you will have.
o   A word of advice: don’t track mud into God’s house. Mud stains, and trust me, no cleaner (heavenly or not) gets out a good mud stain.

·         Always put the toilet seat down
o   Remember what I said about the ladies appreciating the small things? Trust me, this little gesture will go a long way.
o   A word of advice:  Boys will be boys and they will undoubtedly challenge you to a “who can pee further” contest. This is a rite of passage for all young men, I know, but please don’t go up against God. He is all powerful: need I say more?

·         Share
o   Share what you have with the people that need it most. The more you give away, the more you gain in the long run.
o   A word of advice: God knows your intentions, therefore, don’t try and pull a fast one on him. He knows when you are doing something just to get more in the end. He always has an eye on you. And I would be careful, because you are much closer to him up there than you were down here. In fact, you are so close that I bet he has two eyes on you.

·         Always stop and smell the roses
o   Take time to enjoy the little things up there in heaven. You have all the time in the world, don’t rush.
o   A word of advice: God created the roses, so it wouldn’t hurt to mention that you like a certain flower or plant when He is around. It will not go unnoticed. God likes flattery as much as the next guy.

·         Last, Remember that I will always love you
o   You may be a million miles away, but you will always be mine. You have a special place in my heart, forever.
o   A word of advice: your daddy may say that he loves you most, but nothing says I love you like 9 months of pregnancy, 3 of which were spent sick to my stomach, 5 hours of labor, and pushing something the size of a melon, out something the size of a walnut. So remember, mommy always wins.

Monday, March 22, 2010

2 weeks

2 weeks. That’s all the time that I got to have Brendan home with me. It was the best time of my life. I have never wanted to have something as badly as I wanted Brendan home.

He was in the hospital for 82 days. I never went a day without seeing him. On those days when he was intubated and recovering from surgery and I couldn’t hold him, I would hold his hands, read to him, pray with him, talk to him, and sing to him. Daddy would sing to him as well. I would delight in the simple things like changing his diaper or giving him a bath. I remember getting mad at the nurses when they would change his diapers. That was the one thing that I could do that even slightly resembled being a mom. I wasn’t about to let someone take that away from me.

We brought him home on Friday, January 9, 2010. The hospital doesn’t like to do discharge over a weekend because they like to have staff available in case equipment doesn’t get delivered and for any other problems that could arise. However, Brendan was supposed to come home on that Thursday and there we just too many things going against us, so it got pushed back. The administrators knew that if I had to wait one more day I was going to go crazy.

That Friday was the best day ever, and also a terrifying day. I knew that Brendan was coming home on hospice care, and that essentially meant that he was coming home to die. Jeff and I knew that Brendan was going to pass no matter where he was, and it was just a matter of time before he did. So, we made the decision to bring him home where we could be a “normal” family for as long as we had.

Every day was a new adventure. Jeff took off from work Friday and we spent the weekend hanging out as a family. Our first outing was Saturday night. We walked to the Carl’s Jr. near our house. We got Brendan ready to go and had his pump (it was dinner time for him, too and we had his dinner in the stroller). I don’t think that Jeff and I had showered in a day because we were so exhausted from the night before. We were starving because we had no food in the house, and we were getting stir crazy from being in the house for over 24 hours. I remember asking some random guy there to take our picture. I am sure that he thought we were crazy, but I didn’t care. You can’t even see Brendan in the picture, but we knew he was there.

Brendan did great that night. He slept most of the time we were walking and just chilled while Jeff and I hung out. I remember looking at him every few seconds just to make sure he was still there. I couldn’t believe that he was home and that I was able to take him out.

He was the perfect little man and I enjoyed every second that we spent together as a family.

This is us on our first adventure out to Carl's Jr. Good times, good times.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I looked up online for synonyms for the word "die" here's what it said...

die - decease, perish, go, exit, pass away, expire, pass, kick the bucket, cash in one's chips, buy the farm, conk, give-up the ghost, drop dead, pop off, choke, croak, snuff it

We need to figure out better phrasing for saying that someone died. Because let's be honest, the ones we have aren't working.

Why do we use the phrase passed? When I tell people that Brendan passed, it feels like I am telling them that he did well on a test or like I am telling people that he got his driver's license. He was 3 months old, he couldn't even walk, let alone pass a test.

Then there is the phrase expire. Seriously, is my son a carton of milk? Moving on.

Some people say that they lost someone. I didn't lose him. It's not like we went to the mall and he ran away from me. And if someone is lost, the assumption is that they can be found again. Brendan is not lost.

Kick the bucket? Really? That's just wrong.

Exit? He's not Elvis! He hasn't left the building. 

What I really want to say to people is that my son was taken from me too soon. He died too early and should have stayed around longer to experience life. I want to pull out pictures and show everyone what he looked like. I want to tell everyone about his life. I want to talk about how because of 3 months, my life will never be the same. I want everyone to know that you can't take anything for granted. Love the people in your life. Get rid of the people that are hurtful, and that don't love you for who you are. Enjoy every moment. You never know when things could change forever.