Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye

I usually have tons of words and much to say...I just do not. Having to plan a funeral for your son just leaves a momma speechless. All I knew was I wanted Brock at home in Panama City and was going to find a way to make it happen; he deserved it. That is just what we did in two days: settled all the important things, booked a flight, found help for the other boys, and flew Brock home to lay to rest. I just can not begin to describe the feelings that overcome when having to plan out a funeral service for a baby...and not just a baby..but my sweet Brock. Nevertheless he deserved the remembrance and the services so we with the support of family and friends gave him a service I will never forget and hope that made him proud. My sister and I put together a slide show of his life that played to the island version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. he service was given my my Uncle, my Daddy read the Psalm we read from the start of the pregnancy, and I read one last letter I wrote and placed with my son. We ended the service and rainy afternoon with the song "If I Die Young" by the Band Perry playing in the background while everyone released what was close to 300 blue and white balloons in the sky. No words are left but the heartfelt letter I read to my baby.....:

"Brock, you have been so loved ever since the day I found out I was having you and your brothers. God must have known how much I needed a baby as he blessed me with four!!! We have all come so far. From the uncertainties of the pregnancy to you and your brothers deciding you were through baking at 27 weeks, to our roller coaster NICU stay and to the ultimate goal of bringing you and your brothers home. I loved everyday of being a quad mom; even though at times it was crazy, I wouldst change it for the world and would give anything to have it back again. You must know just how loved you are son. Ever since that Christmas Eve almost a year ago when your Dad and I found our that we were having a baby let alone four...we were in love! i don not understand why God needed you in heaven but I do know that God does not make mistakes. And even though you are not at home; I am still and always will me your Momma Brock. I have three constant reminders of you in your brothers.

Like I told you all along, I am going to tell you one more time because I am the Momma Brock. Brock...remember what your Momma says...wash behind your ears because no one like the stinky kid and just be happy because no one likes the whine bag. Mommy loves her little B-Rock. And I have one new one to add my baby....always look after your little brothers as you are now their angel to them all and they and we need you!!!! We all miss and love you! And although you are now in heaven, I am and will always be blessed times four."...Love your Mommy.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

At a Loss

It is hard to keep positive thoughts and outlooks when life is just not the same. This past Wednesday morning, my sweet Brock passed away. When we brought him home from the NICU a few weeks ago, we brought him home not eating well and not being able to stool on his own. The problem did not improve so each week when I took him to the pediatrician; I expressed my concerns. After trying all at home remedies to produce poo: prune juice, karo syrup, etc. our Dr began to explore the idea that is could be an anatomy problem or a bowel issue such as Hirschprungs Disease. She scheduled for us to do a barium dye test to track his bowel movement for the next Monday. This elated me as to he would be getting relief as well as us getting answers as to why he is not able to go to the bathroom; something that has been needed to be done for quite sometime.

It wasn't but a day or so after the pediatrician appointment that we noticed Brock becoming even more fussy. We got up and going early on Sunday in hopes of taking the entire family to church. I picked out the boys' matching Sunday outfits and got them dressed and wrapped in burp cloths as to not soil their Sunday best!!! I propped each boys bottle and began to feed. Brock barely took ten milliliters before vomiting a dark vomit with red in it. Because I had been using karo syrup in his bottle; I questioned if it was the syrup...but the red could not be explained. I rushed my little boy to the ER where he continued to throw up dark and red. I panicked on the inside while trying to be a comfort to him. After testing was done and his previous records were reviewed; the ER doctor highly suspected of him having Hirschprungs Disease. What he was vomiting was his own stool. He admitted us to the Peds floor; something I was not ready to do over again. Once on the floor the Dr on call told us that they would not be doing anything for more testing because we had the only test they would have done scheduled for the next day and he was not showing signs of sickness as he was still feeding. Having three other little boys at home I asked if we could just go home and do the test outpatient as originally planned. After seeking the advice of his attending doctor, he cam back and told us there was no reason for us to be admitted but they can not deny a ER doctor from wanting someone admitted so they discharged us. Home we went. Grateful I was. He had no new issues over the night. We got up and going and went to have the test done. As he was getting instant relief from the test; I was anxiously awaiting the results. The radiologist showed me that there was a block in his bowel; not completely blocked off as some of the dye was able to flow through, but bad enough that he can not push stool around and it was completely backed up to one side of his intestines. She highly thought that he had a high transition point of Hirschprungs Disease; which would ultimately require surgery. When was the question. First a biopsy would have to be done to see for sure if the cells were dead and that the disease it was and then the surgery to follow.

The attending doctor we saw while admitted on the Peds floor, called minutes after we left the appointment to discuss the results. He also agreed that Brock's test showed some sort of obstruction and put a consult in to surgery to begin a game plan. He told me he would notify our pediatrician and that she would tell us more of the plan during our Wednesday appointment. We never made it to that appointment.

After the test, Brock continued to have stools during every diaper as we were told to expect since he had the barium enema for the test. He began decreasing what he took in and became very lethargic and screamed when he was touched or moved. It was a rough night for us all. We woke up on Tuesday to a phone call from our pediatrician checking in on him. I told her how he was acting and she said to bring him back to the hospital where they would admit him to follow him more closely. She told us that surgery would see us that day and it would probably take place in a few days. That is not how it happened at all. Surgery never came and the doctors told us it was probably a virus or infection causing the watery diapers, fever and fussiness. Jeff stayed with Brock as someone must accompany him at all times and I went home to be with the boys who were being taken care of by neighbors. I continued on the schedule with the other three boys. Jeff's mom was flying in anticipation that Brock would be in the hospital for a little while as we thought he was having surgery. I was overwhelmed with three other fussy boys and the thought of being away from my little boy. After feeding Brock a bottle he went to get his mom, brought her home and returned to Brock. I got a call two hours later from Jeff. He was frantically telling me that something was wrong and that Brock was now in the PICU and being put on a breathing machine and he didn't think he was going to make it. I lost it. I woke up Jeff's mom and gave her the quick run down on how to feed the babies and sped out the door to get to my baby. I ran as fast as I could up to the PICU where I saw Jeff talking to the chaplain. This was the indicator to me that things were not ok. I went in to see them working on Brock and just held his little hand. The doctor was trying to make an explanation for what was going on with my sweet boy. He thought he had an overwhelming infection as well as his bowels being a cause for his stomach to being so distended that it was causing him not to breathe. The surgeon came to examine the xrays, dye study we had done the day before and to see if an emergency surgery was needed. She came out and told us she did not deem it necessary to do the surgery and told us she would wait until he was more stable at an unknown day or time...days, weeks, months, ? I asked her if she thought he was going to die. She looked at me and said first off what we have heard a hundred times. "I have no crystal ball; however, I do not think so since his counts and numbers were rising." This was reassuring to me. I walked back in to be with Brock and things just get fuzzy from here. His stomach was huge and his umbilical hernia which he has had for a couple of months now that was already huge; was even bigger. His hands and feet had a red rash that was growing. His color pale. His body still. His lungs began not responding to the ventilator so they decided to hook him to the high pressure vent. Before he got to that point; he went into cardiac arrest and they spent the next hour pumping him full of meds and giving him CPR. He was still not responding so they shocked his heart and continued CPR. Two familiar faces from the NICU were with us and I looked at the nurse Brock called his "girlfriend" and asked her if my little boy was going to make it. When her eyes got red; I knew. But I just could not accept it. I prayed like I have never prayed before; begging God to not take my baby. I stayed positive and faithful knowing that he would be spared and an unexplained miracle was going to happen and my baby would pull through. I still wish this was the outcome. However it was not. I had to say goodbye to my little Brock while leaving the hospital with an empty car seat and an empty feeling. I was not a triplet mom, I am a quad mom...I don't know how to just do three babies; I do four. Who was my little Keaton going to sleep with now. What were we going to do.

As much as I wanted to crawl into bed and not get out...I had three other boys ready to start their day who needed a strong mommy. So that is what I did and is what I have done. I had no idea what the next steps were; a momma is not suppose to bury their child is all I knew. I also knew that I had to bring Brock back home to Florida where he belonged and was going to do everything in my power to make it happen. In a matter of two days; Jeff and I met with the necessary people and have arranged his funeral in Panama City. I am writing this from the airport waiting for our flight. I hated to leave my other boys behind. I am fearful that something like what happened to Brock will happen to one of my others; and that scared me. I do not want them out of my sight. This is when I turn to God and pray for that strength. As much as I want to be angry at the doctors for allowing him to go home when he was having feeding and stooling issues and as angry I am for them sending us home after the ER and for the surgeons never coming that day to review him...I can not. As much as I do not understand why my little boy was taken away when he worked so hard to stay here; I know that one day I will find my answer. God does not make mistakes. He knew what he was doing when he gave me my four blessings; and he knew what he was doing when he brought Brock back to heaven. All I know is that now his brothers will always have an angel with them. I yearn for my little boy. I do not want to say that final goodbye on Monday; but I just have to seek the strength from Him to get me through. And even though I have only three boys at home...I will always be blessed times four.

And then there were 4...

Just when we were getting all of the boys on the same schedule and adjusting to life with three kids; Jeff had to go back to work. This was a surprise to me as he intended on taking 30 days of leave. But; his job is our livelihood and besides he is in the military; so a choice he does not have in the matter. I learned real fast how to do three kids with just one of me. It has been my primary goal to get the babies on the same schedule and even with Jeff going back to work; I was set on keeping the schedule going. After watching an episode of "Make room for Multiples" on TLC; I learned how to feed lots of babies at one time...I set each baby in a blanket and burp cloth covered boppy and take two receiving blankets that I use to prop each baby's bottle. While they eat, I burp, change diapers as they finish and "trouble shoot" for when they drop a bottle. I must works fairly well and it is the only thing I have found to work when I am at the house with all of the kiddos. One day with all three went by and I felt fairly confident!!!

The next day, I got a phone call to come and pick up Brock!!! This was beyond exciting as the day before we were being notified on how he was puking with his feeds; what changed overnight I am not for sure...but I will definitely take my baby and bring him home!!!! Guilt was beginning to set in prior to knowing we were able to pick him up; but what is a momma of quads to do. I had three boys at home who needed to be on a set schedule and then I had one across town in the hospital. it is impossible for me to do both so unfortunately it was my time with Brock that suffered. i was elated that I would now have him at home and get to reconnect and bond with him as it has been a bit of time since I was able to spend significant time with him.

Two kids were doable...three kids were a trial as they now outnumbered us...but what is a fourth?! Well, Brock was not able to come this entire time because of his lack of bottling. This was the difference. Feeding four kids at the same time is a trial in itself; having to feed four with Camden who is fickle and honory during feeds plus Brock who just simply fusses and doesn't want to frustrating to say the least. I forget the struggle we had with Camden from the start, and even Grayson gave us trouble when he first came home as well. I constantly have to remind myself that he can not help it and he will improve; just like the other boys. The difference is that it is easier to deal with this issue with two babies and two parents...even three babies and two adults as one parent can feed the more needy baby as the other parent feeds the better eaters. But, when you have pray and make do.

We intended on having every baby in their own bed and having two nurseries. That was shot when Camden became colicky. After we began co sleeping him with Grayson; it made no since to leave Keaton by his self. We put Keaton in the same room and then when Brock came home we figured we might as well co sleep him with Keaton...this way if one of us needed to sleep through a feeding; it was manageable by one parent, as they were all in one room. Almost all of my initial intentions and plans prior to them being at home has changed. Reality of having quads sets in quite quickly...thus prior plans change quickly as well!! Being a stickler about a schedule is my saving grace and the only way I can manage the boys by myself. They know what to expect and at what time and my day is planned accordingly. They have learned that there is only one mommy and four kiddos. I love my boys and would love to sit and rock each to sleep...but I HAVE FOUR!!! They have learned to put themselves to sleep and to self soothe when they are fussy. I take the time after feeding and before naps to love on each of the boys; being sure to give each little monkey special attention. I have learned to love my new job and absolutely love being a quad momma!!!! Not to say that times do not get stressful when each boy decides to orchestrate a crying symphony...but that is when I have to take the time to thank God for being able to have all of the boys home while also praying for the strength and patience to get through the day. I am blessed times four and now have the constant reminders to wake up to each and every morning which make everyday a great day!!!