Oct 7, 2014

Twenty Two Years Later: Brandie Grant

Today's story is written by a woman who is strong in the Lord. She is a wonderful mother and someone who has a story about her children that makes me laugh every time I see her. She came to see me when we lost Hannah and then she spent the next month loving her father day and night as he fought cancer. She knows what grief is all too well, but she's knows the strength of the Lord even more.

Even though she told me about her son, I never realized that it was twenty two years ago. I didn't realize how beautiful her story was until I read her words. I pray that you, too, see the beauty of the Lord in her story.

D.J.'s Story

We lost our beautiful baby boy at 36 weeks gestation (approximately eight months). David's passing was officially noted as "medical staff neglect accompanied by fetal cardiac arrhythmia and possible hydrops fetalis" meaning there was obvious issues with the medical treatment that my son and I received along with medical conditions that may or may not have compromised the life of our son.

I had experienced a day where there was little movement in my seventh month, but a sonogram showed and confirmed he was fine. A month later another day of little movement concerned me, but once again a scan in our OB's office showed him to be alive and his heart was beating. Two days later on February 12th at 34 weeks and 5 days I began having contractions. After several hours of timing and watching the clock I made a call to my OB who instructed me to meet him at the hospital. Upon being hooked up to monitors and completing a physical exam it was confirmed that I was in labor.

My OB made the call to stop my labor since I was not yet 36 weeks. I remained in the hospital for 2 days and was then sent home on strict bed rest and an oral version of the IV medication (Terbutaline) that would continue to prevent my labor.  A little less than 24 hours later I began contracting despite not getting on my feet except to use the restroom and religiously taking my prescribed medication. Once again I made a call to my OB and was instructed to meet him at his office (directly across the street from the hospital) this time.

On the afternoon of February 17th. I was put in a room and my OB came in and used his device to listen for my son's heart beat.  He moved the device all over my stomach and made mention the batteries must be low or baby was hiding. We were asked to go to the hospital where he would meet us to evaluate my contractions. It was different this time. I walked in and gave them my name and they brought me a wheel chair and took me to radiology "for a biophysical profile to check on baby's maturity" or so I was told.

Up until this point I had never been worried, stressed or had any uneasy feelings. The worst of my thoughts were that I was going to have my son a bit early but I was practically full term so he would be fine. Once they had me in radiology they wheeled me into a room with what looked to be a bigger version of the sonogram machine I was used to seeing. This is the moment when I began to feel anxious, nervous, and uneasy.  It was there that we learned he had passed away. I was watching the monitor and I couldn't see his heart beating and after a few more looks around our OB formally advised us our son had died. I was already crying before he said it but I just started sobbing, yelling "LIAR" and hyperventilating. I managed to pull myself together after several nurses and other hospital personnel came rushing in panicked by my screaming.  I remember wanting to go home to my sweet 2 year old daughter but I was being told I needed to be admitted so I could deliver my son.  I begged for a c-section because I didn't want to wait for nature to take its course. I had delivered my 1st child naturally and was told there was no medical reason to have a c-section. It was an unnecessary surgery that would take weeks for me to recover from.

My labor was "normal" and uneventful. My husband went home to care for our young daughter and my mother sat up with me all night as I labored. It was my mom that I wanted and needed during those hours. It was as though I were a young girl again who was sick and only wanted her mommy.  I labored all night and into the next morning. Shortly before 8am I was told it was time to start pushing. This delivery seemed so much harder than my 1st. My mom kept reassuring me as I was constantly thinking and telling everyone, "I just can't!" I was emotionally and physically drained. A combination of no sleep and constant crying had depleted any strength I had. They insisted that I continue to push and I begged, "just cut me open!" After 2 hours of pushing I remember 3 new nurses coming in to join the 2 that had been with me since the beginning. One held my head, one on either side to hold my legs and one on either side allowing me to squeeze their hands. All were cheering me on along with my mom and the 2 doctors that were trying to assist in other ways to get my son out. After almost 2 and 1/2 hours of pushing my son was finally out. On Thursday February 18, 1993 at 10:25am David Anthony Simmons Jr. was born.  I had finally gotten him out and I know my strength was from Jesus because I had none on my own. I learned later that I delivered my son breech (buttocks first) which was why it felt so much harder and different from the delivery of my 1st child.

I remember asking, as soon as he came out, "is he alive?" Deep down I was hoping for some sort of miracle but it wasn't to be. They wrapped him up and laid him on my chest. He was perfect and beautiful... All 8lbs 7 1/4ozs and 23in of him. He had red hair like me and was big and tall like his dad. He looked perfectly normal...how could he not be alive? He did not cry nor did he open his eyes. My son was in my arms, but his soul had already made its way home to his REAL father. I got lots of cuddles and kisses before I had to say goodbye. To say I was devastated at the moment I had to give my son up knowing I would never see him again in this life would be an enormous understatement.

My world changed forever that day. It changed in more ways than I can list.

I had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days due to a broken tail bone and other issues related to giving birth to a very large breech baby.

As a mother you should never have to leave out of the hospital with empty arms, without your baby. As a parent you should not bury a child. But the day I was released from the hospital I was holding a pillow, not my son, and before going home I had to go to the funeral home to pick a casket and make arrangements for my son's funeral. I had to go by the cemetery to pick my son's resting place, then the florist to pick flowers and back to the funeral home to deliver the clothing I wanted my sweet child buried in. I never realized how much a funeral cost...why would I at only 21 years old? Babies aren't born with life insurance. We were so blessed by friends, co-workers, and even strangers for donating funds to cover the cost of our son's funeral. There was a small balance left after donations which my parents without hesitation covered. How heartbreaking it must have been to write a check to help bury your grandson.

On February 22, 1993 we celebrated the life that had lived in me for 8 months. We thanked God for the time of excitement we had awaiting his arrival. We rejoiced in the fact that he never endured pain and suffering like we were. We praised The Lord for the promise that our sweet DJ (what we had planned to call him) was safely in the lap of Jesus and one day we would again be together.

Life went on around me, pretty soon after the funeral people stopped asking if I was okay and quit calling and stopping by to check on us.  If I didn't have Taylor (my daughter) I am not sure what I would have done. She was my sunshine and my reason to keep living, to keep getting up every day. I had several years that are kind of a blur. I mourned and grieved greatly for my son. I think it was years before I REALLY excepted the reality of what had happened and the fact that it had happened to me. I'm not sure why, maybe just my young age and lack of maturity, but I lived in the world thinking things like this don't happen to people like me...like I was special or should be immune to pain, suffering, trials, heartbreak and tragedy. My naivety made the grieving process so difficult. Almost intolerable. My parents saw the dark place I had allowed myself to go and arranged for me to get help. I'm thankful my parents were still invested in parenting me. It's only through the christian counseling program they found for me that I was finally able to begin healing emotionally from missing my son.

Nearly 22 years later and I think of him every day. I still have days where I cry and wish he was here with me. I know I am extremely blessed to have children and grandchildren, but I will live my life always feeling and knowing a huge part of me is missing on this Earth. It really is hard to explain what it's like to live your life without the child you had hopes of raising and seeing grow up before your eyes.  I just take each day as it comes and hold on to The Word and the promises that are contained in it. I know my heart will always ache to have my son here with me and I know as long as I'm alive on this Earth I will miss him. But I also know I'll spend eternity with my son and that does bring me joy. It may be through tears, but it's still JOY.

1 comment:

  1. Ms. Brandie, thank you for sharing your story. It touched me deeply. My husband and I were pregant with twins. We miscarried very early in my pregnancy with one child and nearly lost my son Russell as well. Not a day goes by that I don't long for the sound of 4 children's voices in the house instead of 3.
    Feb 18th is a special but also sad day for our family. It is Russell's birthday. He is almost 18 and is the sunshine in my life. I can only imagine that your sweet DJ helped to welcome in our little into
    heaven and is watching over him/her right now.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...