Mar 6, 2012


So much has happened since I last updated those of you who still read my humble blog.  BUT there's one big event that takes precedence over everything:  Ben.  

Benjamin James Rea was born last week, February 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM to be exact, weighing 5 lbs 10 oz. and was 18 inches long.  He was born 5 weeks and 4 days ahead of schedule.  The cause: H.E.L.L.P. Syndrome.  This is a no-good condition that just appears sometimes in pregnant women.  It's terrible.  Don't get it...though there's no way to prevent it.  Brooke had it.  H.E.L.L.P. reared its ugly head that Monday night/Tuesday morning in the form of severe cramping/pain in Brooke's upper abdomen region.  Blech.  I hate H.E.L.L.P.  Finally Brooke decided it was time to go to the doctor.  The doc, after running some tests, decided she needed to be admitted to the hospital, have more tests run, and be monitored.  After dangerously low blood platelet levels and really high liver enzyme levels (the doc's words, not mine), they decided Ben had to be delivered early, as Brooke could not make it to term.  This thought made, still makes, me shudder.  Everyone said, though, that Ben was doing great; the issue was only with Brooke's health.  The inducing started, as the doctor's monitored Brooke's levels, debating on whether she would need to have a c-section or not. 

So of course, after freaking out, my parents and I immediately left work and jumped on the first flight (3:42 PM) to Detroit (only direct flight closest to Findlay, OH), and was in Findlay by 8:30 PM (7:30 PM Arkansas time).  We thought Ben would have been born by the time we got there, but the doctor's kept waiting.  FINALLY, after a blood test at 10 PM revealed Brooke's levels were too dangerous to wait for a natural birth, they decided a c-section would be happening that night.  Around 12something AM they took Brooke back...Garrett couldn't go because she was going to be put completely out (no epidural for her because of her low levels)Another Blech.  We were told that Ben would be out within minutes, but Brooke would be back there about an hour or a little more; they said they'd come tell us when Ben was out and how he was doing.  That never happened.  We never got an update while Brooke was still in surgery.  We didn't even know anything until they surprisingly wheeled Brooke back into her room still knocked out from the drugs.  The nurses still wouldn't tell us anything about little Ben.  

Brooke lay there trying to wake up...well, people trying to wake her up.  She's funny when she's drugged.  Anyway...finally the doctor lady would had been working on Ben came in and dropped the bomb.  She proceeded to tell us that he let out a big scream when he came out (YAY!) but then went limp (what?!).  They had to do CPR on him twice and for a while.  They had a hard time getting him to breathe.  They then intubated him to help him breathe.  She continued to say that they were going to transfer him to the NICU at a hospital in Toledo (about a 50-minute drive away), as they were better equipped to care for our new little family member.  We all fell silent.  Garrett left with the doctor to go see his new son, and my mom, dad, and I sat there starring at the floor trying to process what was just said to us.  Blech doesn't cover this one.  I just looked at Brooke lying there, in a drugged state, thankful she hadn't heard what the doctor had just said.  So many thoughts run through your mind when you hear bad news.  Some people lean toward the extreme negative, others toward the positive and optimistic.  My thoughts were a jumble of both.  Happy as we were--so happy--that our Brooke was ok, a dark, scary cloud lingered in the room.  Finally I was able to stand, and just went to Brooke's bedside, rubbed her arm, and bawled.  Our little boy wasn't so great after all.  Fears of brain damage, lung damage, possible disability swirled through my brain.  

Finally Garrett returned saying, "He looks just like me!" and "He just kicking and punching all over the place."  This eased our minds a bit; thankfulness of Garrett's positive reports lifted us up.  After waiting a few hours, the people from the Toledo hospital came to take Ben, and they brought him in for Brooke to finally meet her son.  At 5:00 AM., awake as she could be, Brooke reached her hand into the box tiny Ben was in and rubbed his ink-stained foot.  This was the only interaction she would have with him for two and a half days.  This was also the only time I got to get close to him.  Garrett and my parents, though, got to go see him every day...checking on his progress, taking pictures, and making sure he knew he was not alone and loved.

The Lord is so good, though.  We also have the best friends and family around.  Prayers from all over the world were going up for my precious family.  Brooke gained strength quickly, ready to get out of the hospital to have a proper introduction to her son.  Friday late morning, she was discharged, and by Friday afternoon we were in Toledo.  I was not allowed back to see him, which I'm still a little bitter about.  Tons of pictures and video were taken!  I already have over one gig of pictures from last week alone!  


 My dad and I were booked on a return flight on Sunday, annoyingly, as we had to get back to the pups and my job.  Blech.  This was so tough, as when family emergencies and trauma happen, work becomes so low on the list of priorities!  What made it even harder for me to leave was the fact that I hadn't gotten to really see my nephew...really be with him, tell him how much I love him, and how we're going to be best friends.  Saturday, in Toledo, I was given a small gift from the nurses in the NICU.  They let Brooke and my mom bring Ben up to the front office, behind the glass, and let me see him...see him with my sister...see him without tubes and machines hooked up to him (well, he had a couple cords, but nothing like before).  It was great.  Awful but great.  Sunday my dad and I left.  Sunday was terrible. Blech times infinity!

I bawl as I type this from Arkansas.  I long to be back in Ohio, to be there for Brooke and Garrett.  Be there to hold Ben, give him baby squeezes, and pinch his cheeks.  It'll happen, though, I know.  Someday.  Hopefully soon.  

NOW--thank you, Jesus--Ben has been moved back to the hospital in Findlay, breathing on his own, and learning (slowly but surely) how to feed from something other than a tube down this throat.  Brooke and Garrett hold him close, occasionally letting my mom have the privilege. I get reports and pictures throughout the day.  I cry.  I'm leaning, though, on how blessed I was (am) to have been there for that traumatic yet wonderful week, for Ben's birth, for my sister, for Garrett.  SO thankful.  Now I anxiously await every picture, every video.  I got to talk to him on the phone yesterday, and Brooke continues to tell him about me.  I know I'm not as important as learning how to eat--so he can go home and get out of that hospital!--but I just want him to know that there's someone else out there loving him so much it hurts. 



Garrett J Rea said...

Awesome. Cried again

Garrett J Rea said...

So sweet