Monday, July 27, 2015

Remembering Bradley - His 4th Birthday

Four years ago, we were expecting our fourth child. Everything was set for him to come into our lives. We had three children between the ages of 8 and 2. Two girls and one boy. When we found out the midwife was suspecting a boy, we were so over joyed at our “perfect life” that was falling into place. We had been sealed in the temple. We were active at church. We both had callings and knew the lord loved us and we felt like we had earned this perfect life that we had built together.

In the early morning on July 20th, 2011, Bradley was born. Our son had arrived and he completed the perfect picture we had been painting. But as soon as I saw his tiny, weak body,  I knew his life would not be as long or as healthy as my other children’s lives. He weighed in, full term, at only 4lbs 8 oz. The midwife looked him over and said he looked small but she could not see any defects she could clinically recognize. She made sure we were stable and instructed us to make sure he ate and to see the pediatrician within a 24 hour period.

Off to the pediatricians we took our tiny, frail son. The pediatrician said he looked very weak and said he should go to the NICU. As we turned our son over to the hospital, he was admitted into the ICU and quickly his health began to decline. Doctors were unsure of his condition but in a rushed surgery they saved his life with a central line. The central line ensured their ability to test him for his aliments. And they discover a thyroid issue that was causing his inability to thrive. They put him on some thyroid medication and ran some more tests and soon discovered his brain was having seizures and that was causing him feeding issues and developmental delay. After eight long first weeks of life he was released from the hospital, because his health was stable enough to go home. We were told the prognosis was unsure. His development would be the test that would tell us if he would live or not.

Time passed. He started rolling. But he never could hold up his head. He verbalized. He cooed. We loved his sweet spirit in our home. Light surrounded our special son who was surely a gift from heaven. The work it took to keep him healthy, was something I had never experienced. Medications around the clock. Feeding tubes. Transferring his weak, yet growing body, to daily doctor appointments and therapies. And then at 8 months old the seizures reared their ugly head and he suffered with more than 20 seizures a day. Seizure medications were adjusted to keep them at bay; but they never went away. He was left in a near vegetative state most of the day. Unable to breath, oxygen was added to his routine to keep him alive and living more comfortably. His development stopped. He regressed in his milestones.
All the while my other children continued to grow and need me too. To say I was tired was an understatement. And when Bradley turned 18 months old, when he started nursery, he was also admitted into hospice care. End of life care for a tiny child.


And the doctors came to our home and added morphine to his routine to keep him comfortable while he was passing into the next life. And for 9 months I held him while he died. The poor lifeless child that no doctor could save. He had a degenerative brain disease and the brain could not be fixed.

And one day on September 7th, 2013, he did finally pass and become the angel that I knew he would be the first time I held him. And I buried his tiny body, in a tiny box, in a tiny grave.

Since that time there have been sad and dark days for sure. 

But sometimes I still do feel joy.
Everything I miss and will miss about having Bradley here on earth with us, will come back to us tenfold because of the atonement.
It’s not something I completely understand.
Some days it’s hard to understand it because of my grief; but just by saying it and bearing testimony to you now, I know it is true that not one hair will be lost. That ALL will be restored to us. 

We did everything right. We made all the preparations to be with him again someday. And now I work daily to keep those covenants so that I can have him again. He keeps me going. The thought of being with my son again, keeps me going. I am so blessed to have held him for a long as I did. He truly is my angel, who I know so personally, and who can and is, guiding me home.