Monday, February 1, 2010

It is painfully ironic that the last blog post I made was the day after Bronson's birth,
to joyfully announce his safe arrival into this life...
And the next one I allow myself to make, is the day after his near-death,
to update you on how he was almost taken from us...
I have mixed feelings about starting to blog again right at this critical time in our family,
but as we have discussed it, we feel it is the best forum for several of our goals.
First and foremost, to accurately record the important details of this blurry whirlwind,
as well as the tender mercies that are being extended from both Heaven and earth,
right as they unfold, so that we have a place to look back and see them
when we need to remember them, and also to share them with those we love.
We also feel a need to update those who love Bronson, and our family,
with his latest news and progress, in a quick, easy and accessible way.
We've been texting, but it has become slow, sporadic, laborious and overwhelming
to try to get the word out to so many who want/need to be updated.
Try as we might, we were missing people
and it was confusing with so many messages
being forwarded from different sources and at different times.
Thank you to everyone who tried to help. You did great and we appreciated your help.
But ultimately, with cell phone coverage restricted in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
and inner parts and hallway of the hospital,
we found it too lengthy and time consuming and inefficient.
We still have our cell phones and answer them when we can,
but will reserve our outgoing messages for individual requests for help, as needed.
So here we are... I am blogging again...
I can not promise that this will be regularly updated.
Although we do feel it is important,
we are sure you will understand that it is obviously not our current focus.
This is our focus.
This blog will not be perfect. It will be messy.
It will not be brief.
(I do not apologize, but brevity is NOT a talent I possess... instead, I am thorough.)
It may be painful.
It may be graphic. It may be awful.
But it will be honest... it will be from my heart.
It will be the truth.
So from this point on,
Here is where you will find the updated progress reports, straight from us.
As they happen, and as we can post them.
So this is what I can tell all of you...
We had a terrible and tragic accident at our home on Saturday morning.
It was a typical Saturday... We had just had breakfast as a family.
Matt had gone on an unplanned mountain bike ride, alone,
but was waiting for a buddy to call and possibly join him.
Kaden was playing video games on the Wii in our family room.
Trevan, was watching cartoons.
As usual, the babies were a mess... covered in breakfast.
I'd just come home from the gym. I needed a shower.
I usually take them in with me. It is easier, faster and less of a mess to shower them.
(I think they had their first actual bath together just a couple weeks ago.
They loved it! I actually video-taped them because it was such a novelty!
They splashed and laughed and played for hours!
I thought I needed to take the time to let them do that more often...)
I started to get undressed to get in the shower, right next to the tub.
I took pajamas and diapers off my little boys and ushered them into the shower.
As we passed it, Daynen begged to get in the "Hot Tub" (our big, jetted Master Bathtub).
For once, we weren't in a hurry to go anywhere.
I started their water.
I put them in the tub with their fish toys and their boats.
I set out their towels. I played with them a few minutes while the tub filled.
I ran their water a few inches deep. I turned off the faucet.
I poked my head around the corner into our bedroom to check on Trevan.
(He'd been sick on Friday and had thrown up 23 times. I think he lost 5 pounds.)
He was lying on top of the covers because Matt had made the bed.
He looked skinny and cold and was shivering in his underwear.
I asked him if he wanted a blanket, he said no.
I told him he looked cold and suggested he go get his pajamas on.
He said he was too tired to go get them.
And... so I left...
Which turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life.
Please do not try to sugar-coat things for me.
I am responsible. I am the Mommy.
I should have been more attentive.
I should never have walked away from that tub.
I hope to forgive myself one day... Right now that feels impossible.
But I walked down the hallway to Trevan and Daynen's room to get Trevan his pajamas.
I should have come straight back...
But I noticed Daynen's bed was still unmade.
And I saw the Laundry basket full of clean clothes
that Matt had carefully set on the end of the bed that morning,
ready to be put away when Trevan did his chores.
So I thought I'd be nice and do it for him.
I took the shirts Matt had hooked over the side and hung them on the rod in Trevan's closet.
I took the folded stack of jeans and placed them on the shelf.
I straightened the row of shoes on the floor.
While I was in the closet, I got out a diaper and onesie
so I could get Daynen dressed when I got him out of the tub.
I closed the closet door...
Basket in hand, I stepped over to the dresser to put away the socks and underwear.
I heard a muffled shout from Trevan.
I set the basket down, alarmed.
Then Trevan came running,
"Mom! Mom! Bronson drowned in the tub! I think he's dead!"
I ran.
It was very far to the bathtub.
He was floating on his back. White. Lips blue. Eyes rolled back. Gone.
Daynen had his arms under his shoulders and thighs, trying to lift him.
Our eyes met.
He looked tiny and helpless trying to keep his brother afloat.
Trying to heave him out.
"Mommy! I so saw-wee! I twy to get him out!"
There was too much water.
It was up past the jets. Running at full speed.
One of them had turned it back on.
I lunged.
I pulled him out. Wet. Cold. Dripping.
I laid him on the floor on our bathmat, next to the shower we should have taken instead.
He had no pulse.
He would not respond.
I screamed for Kaden to call 911.
He was already there. Phone in hand. Dialing.
I began CPR.
I should have gone to Relief Society.
We just had a CPR course... I stayed home that night.
I forgot to pinch his nose.
I blew air into my baby's lungs. They filled and rose.
He sputtered. Water leaked from his eyes, nose and the sides of his mouth.
I blew again, pleading with him.
He had no pulse.
I pressed down on his chest with both hands shaking, counting.
I blew into his mouth and nose again. Air filled him. He sputtered.
I blew again, hard. He began to vomit.
It was everywhere, on both of us. I turned his head to to the side. I cleared his airway.
Again, I blew. Again, I pressed.
Again, his breakfast ran onto the carpet at the side of his head.
Any second... Any second.
Any second his eyes would flutter and he would take a breath.
Any second he would would sit up.
Any second I would wrap my arms around him and thank God for the close call.
Any second he would be back with us.
Any second... but he did not wake up.
The Emergency Dispatcher said they were almost there.
I shouted for Kaden to go unlock the front door and wait. To show them where to find us.
He was so brave. So responsible.
He waited with the door wide open, watching in the cold
the long, loooong minutes until they arrived.
The Police Officer pulled my shoulder up and back from where I hovered over him, blowing.

I begged him to save my baby.
The Fireman grabbed under the armpits and lifted him from the floor mat
running out the door with my heart in hands.
I scooped Daynen up into my arms, cold, wet and dripping
from where he'd stood shivering and watching me try to bring his best friend back to him.
I told him it was not his fault.
I ran back down the hall to get him dressed.
The Police Officer followed.
So many questions...
How long had I been gone? How long had he been under?
How deep was the water when I came in?
Was it hot or cold?
Had he slipped? Had he been pushed?
Did he hit his head?
I didn't know... I still don't know...
I will never know.
We will never know.
I told my boys to be fast. To get ready to go to the hospital. To get in the car.
I got Daynen diapered and dressed.
This was not happening.
Where was Matt?
Please call Matt. Someone call Matt.
But Matt won't answer. His ipod will be in. He won't hear his phone.
He was going for a long training ride. He could be hours.
He'd just left.
I would do this alone.
Could I do this alone?
Downstairs, the Officer told me I could not drive.
Told me my children should stay home. Told me to call a neighbor.
SO many choices, which one to choose...
Angi appeared out of nowhere.
She was in my kitchen, an angel in a t-shirt,
"What can I do?"
"Stay here with my babies."
She hugged me, I knew she'd been prompted to come.
But where was Trevan?
He was missing. Why would he run off? Where would he have gone?
Was he okay? He must be terrified...
I remembered I told him we needed to get to the hospital as fast as possible.
I felt that I should look in the car.
I opened the door to the garage and could see his silhouette,
swaying slightly in his middle seat of the car.
There he was, sick as can be, dressed with his shoes tied, all by himself...
buckled into his seat in the car.
Ready to go. So obedient. So resourceful. Bless his heart.
Another beloved, respected neighbor stood in my entry.
"Oh Steve," I said as he pulled me to him in a supportive embrace.
"I know... I know..." he said.
And as I looked into his eyes, he did.
No judgement.
Bless him for understanding.
Someone handed me my purse.
I walked out the door with the Officer.
The strikingly beautiful wife of our bishop, Annette, stood eagerly on the sidewalk.
I told her Bronson had drowned.
There were few words, but her compassionate eyes
told me she would help to see that everything was taken care of.
I glanced up.
Concerned neighbors were everywhere.
The guilt of what I had done washed over me like a wave.
I had left Bronson alone. He was gone. He may never come home.
My poor boys. I had abandoned their brother.
I had created this mess for them to deal with.
I had taken Bronson away from everyone who loves him.
The Officer escorted me to his car.
The front seat was cluttered with and boxes and papers.
He opened the door and put me in the back where the criminals sit.
Fitting, I thought. I did this.
Not on purpose, of course, but out of negligence.
I bowed my head in shame, not meeting the eyes of the sweet neighbors we drove past.
I wept the empty cry of the helpless.
I prayed to God to spare my son.
I prayed he would be okay.
I promised I would never let myself become distracted by something so unimportant.
Something that can wait.
We hit every light red on the mile and a half drive down the hill to the hospital.
We drove with no siren at traffic speed.
I wanted to get out and run but my door would not open from te inside.
We pulled into the Ambulance loop at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.
I could not get out of the car! I was trapped!
I felt claustrophobic.
I waited the eternity that it took for the Officer to walk around to my side and unlock the door.
I ran, purse dangling over my shoulder, through the doors of the Emergency Room.
More questions...
Where was my baby? Was he alive? Why could I not see him?
I was ushered into a small empty room and asked to wait for these answers.
Alone, I panicked.
I knelt to pray. It was all I could think to do.
I offered my heart and soul to my Father in exchange for a miracle.
The door opened. It was Angi. She came so that I would not be alone.
We embraced the familiar hug of two women who have been through too much together.
I thanked her for being thoughtful, beyond words.
The door opened again and my sweet, beautiful Matt came bursting through,
Wrapping me in his strong arms of comfort.
How had he known?
I thought Kaden had been unable to reach him.
He had been on his way up the canyon, but was waiting for a neighbor buddy to call,
so he'd left his ear phones out and was watching his phone.
I was amazed by this small, tiny miracle.
He answered Kaden's call just as he was passing Timpview High School.
His world came crashing down.
He will always dread passing that spot on the road where he got that call.
He pedaled his bike across snow-crusted fields and down busy roads to get to the hospital,
unsure what he'd find when he arrived.
"I'm so sorry! I'm so, so sorry."
Over and over I apologized.
I don't remember what I said or he said in that frantic moment.
But I do remember the sweet feeling of relief
as I received forgiveness he would not even admit he was extending.
"How could I be mad? Why would I ever be angry?",
spoken in love and genuine sincerity.
They were the sweetest words I would never even have dared to hope to hear.
Lifting a perceptible weight.
We knelt and prayed. Matt poured out his heart on behalf of our son.
A Nurse came in and ushered us to the room where they were working on Bronson.
Our sweet, tiny boy.
He looked so small amid a dozen doctors and nurses hustling about him
amid too many tubes and too many wires.
There are still too many tubes and too many wires.
Our Bishop arrived fast.
He and Matt places their hands upon his little head and offered a Priesthood Blessing.
We all wept.
Matt commanded Bronson to be made whole
and called down the powers of heaven to preserve his life.
He asked Father in Heaven to allow him to fulfill the blessings he had been promised
when he was named and blessed as an infant.
Peace and gratitude for this amazing man washed over me
as I heard his voice speaking confidently
and with faith I myself had not yet received.
We thanked the efficient paramedics
as they described how they had broken protocol
and ran right over the hoses they should have re-reeled back into the truck
in order to shave a few extra seconds off their response time.
They were fast.
We hoped it would be fast enough.
A neighbor friend, Chad, an ER Doc,
stopped by to offer words of comfort and give information we had not received.
We felt confident he was in the best hands.
Matt's dear friend Mark walked in.
Arms full of clothes for Matt to change into.
Real shoes to wear, instead of his clipped-bottom biking shoes.
So thoughtful...
We helped to push the gurney out the double doors
and across the parking lot to where the helicopter awaited.
We begged Rose, the Life Flight attendant, to take extra special care.
We stood, arm in arm, and watched as they flew away with with our life hanging in the balance.
Matt's parents, Peggy and Larry, arrived, devastated.
They pulled their car around, ready to chauffer us to Salt Lake City.
A stranger approached in an aloha print shirt.
A detective.
He just needed a few minutes of our time.
Yes, now.
Where were our other children?
Home with a neighbor, I said.
Could the neighbor bring them down to the station?
No. They need to be at home. They've all had a traumatic day.
But he needed to have them interviewed right away.
"We are on our way to the hospital," I explained.
He was insistent.
It was critical that he be able to speak with Daynen and Trevan
in order to determine if there had been any criminal activity.
They are 2 and 6, I said.
It must be right away before anyone else can interfere with their testimony
by planting responses or swaying them with suggestions.
I fumed silently.
I shivered with cold... or anger. I'm not sure.
I was cold. And wet. In shock.
Was he actually taking my time with this right NOW?
The audacity was disgusting.
I bit my tongue and politely told him I'd be happy to comply at a later date.
Monday?, he suggested, as if that was actually a realistic consideration.
I told him I hoped I was not at a funeral on Monday.
I gave him my cell phone number.
Mark tucked us into the car with Matt's parents and closed the door,
clenching his jaw to keep from punching the detective in the face.
I smiled at our good and loyal friend.
Larry followed the GPS printout and navigated to Primary Children's Hospital.
(Which is entirely too far from a major access road, if you ask me.)
We wandered through endless halls trying to follow the path of red signs to lead us,
but could barely find them through our tears.
He'd been stabilized by the time we arrived.
His heart was beating on it's own but he was still not breathing without assistance.
He was already on his ventilator and seemed almost peaceful.
The doctors and nurses have filled in the holes and explained things as well as they can.
Here is what we know...
Bronson arrived at the ER in full cardiac arrest.
He was intubated en route, but the tube was ineffective
because it had been misplaced in his esophogus instead of his trachia.
All resuscitation efforts had failed to that point,
but he was revived when his heart began to beat again spontaneously in the ER at UVRMC.
He is being treated for anoxic brain injury,
although it continues to remain unclear how severe that might be.
His official down time is impossible to calculate
because we will never know how long he spent underwater before being found and pulled out.
Kaden placed the 911 call at 11:20 am.
The EMT's arrived at our home at 11:24.
Bronson was en route by 11:29 and arrived DOA at 11:31.
Eleven long minutes... plus ?

Currently, he is very sick and the outcome is still unclear.
He is considered in critical, but now stable, condition.
It is still too soon to know whether he will survive,
and if so how much damage there may have been to his brain.
All the early tests have shown surprisingly positive indications,
although it will be several days more, at least, before we really have many answers
or know what we will will be dealing with.
His initial CT scan showed minimal swelling of the brain
and definitive differentiation between white and gray matter.
We feel fortunate that because of his young age, his fontanelle (soft spot) is still open,
which gives his brain a little bit more room to expand without damage, as he heals.
We chose to have Bronson receive a cutting edge, but experimental treatment
called Post-Arrest Hypothermic Therapy.
The theory is that by inducing hypothermia and reducing his body temperture,
we reduce his swelling (and therefore any further secondary injury that could be caused by it).
More importantly, it also reduces his metabolic rate and metabolism,
(thereby minimizing the energy stores needed to run all of his vital bodily systems).
So that frees up his body's reserves to help heal the most injured parts, his brain and lungs.
The down side to this is that it requires a paralytic medication
to prevent his body's natural shivering reflex.
So he is medically paralyzed for at least 48 hours.
He is also kept heavily sedated to prevent usage of unnecessary energy.
So the wait time before regular neurological assessments can begin is therefore extended.
I'll be honest... It has been an agonizing couple of days just waiting and not knowing.
Still, we were well advised and felt very good that we should do anything we can
to maximize his healing time and allow his body to rest, heal and resethis circuitry, in a sense.
And if there is any chance at all of improving his prognosis,
we felt we had to give it our best shot and that it would be worth a relatively small wait.
Doctors were clear that they did not want to instill false hope
and that the outcome looked fairly grim.
Saturday was pure, unmistakable misery for all of us.
We made it through the first torturous night.
No one slept well.
Matt tossed and turned restlessly, waking up each time only to realize he was still here.
I had horrific nightmares. You don't want to imagine.
His early morning chest X-ray came back to show fluid in his right lung.
(A common issue with post-arrest victims who have aspirated during CPR.)
They began an antibiotic to keep the pneumonia from worsening.
Antibiotics are miraculous.
They also temporarily suspended the paralytic medication in order to do an initial
neurological assessment of brain activity and determine a starting point for his progress.
We were all surprised to see that his pupils were reactive to light,
as opposed to the consistent fixed and dialated position the day prior.
And then a tiny little miracle...
We were almost too nervous to hope they were real!
But before long he came out of sedation enough to look around and blink,
no doubt trying to make sense of where he was and what he was seeing.
Pure joy. I now know what it feels like.
We were also super encouraged to see him move each of his four major extremities.
Each arm and each leg had what appeared to be purposeful, cognitive movement.
He even passed gas several times!
Who would have thought we'd be so proud and excited for that!
The rest of the day was much of the same.
Many visitors, much love, overwhelming support.
We did have to make the decision to focus just on Bronson
and ultimately gave up trying to make text updates to everyone.
We hope you understand...
Thanks to Cheryl, Mindy, Lori and whomever else has been helping to spread our news,
keep all of our family, friends, neighbors and loved ones informed
and most importantly petition for your prayers and support.
Monday morning's chest X-ray showed a more concentrated area of fluid.
This evening, they began to suspect that a portion of his right lung has actually collapsed.
They have adjusted the method and pattern of ventilation
in order to maximize oxygenation and prevent further lung damage.
Tomorrow night's possible extubation looks unlikely.
He also had a little hiccup with the Arterial IV in his left arm...
It infiltrated and collapsed, leaking caustic medication into his arm, rather than his vein.
He is pretty puffy and bruised and has some slight petechiae,
but they caught it early and it should heal in a day or two with no permanent tissue damage.
He was holding his favorite blankie, a gift from his Auntie Jane.
But the MOST exciting part of today was during the afternoon's neuro-assessment...
Initially, it was actually fairly disappointing, as compared to yesterday's good news.
He was much less responsive and seemed more sluggish coming to.
His pupils are still reactive, but are unevenly dialated, (we are told
probably due to the fact that he is still at the peak point for cranial and cerebrial swelling).
HOWEVER, we noticed that rather than just randomly gazing around the room,
he seemed to actually make brief eye contact!
At one point he connected his gaze with Matt's and held for a few seconds.
He also seemed to follow or track toward familiar voices!
Matt and I tried standing on opposite sides of his bed and taking turns speaking to him.
He definitely attempted to turn toward each of us in turn! Especially his Mama!
We are convinced that this is an indication of cognitive processing and recognition!
We are praying we are right!
We are feeling so encouraged that he is fighting so hard! He is such a strong little stinker!
The doctors and nurses seemed very surprised and encouraged!
He also completed his 48 hour cooling period and began the warm-up phase.
They will slowly return him back to regular body temperature over the next 16 hours.
He should be done around noon or 1:00 tomorrow afternoon.
Then they will attempt to take him off of the paralytic, lighten his sedative
and see how he does. We will just have to wait and see.
Tomorrow could be a very pivotal day!
Our other boys are home with Alli and seem to be doing well.
They made their second trip up to see us tonight and stayed for a couple of hours.
They are each dealing with their part in the crisis so differently but seem to be coping.
They miss us. They are praying for their brother.
Matt and I are still in a bit of a haze, but are trying to process all that is happening.
It hardly seems real!
We plan to continue to stay up at PCMC for the next forseeable little while.
I do not want to leave him.
We take turns sleeping and staying by his side in his room.
We are doing our best to take care of ourselves and appreciate your support.
We are trying not to think about the what ifs and what thens, but are taking things hour by hour.
We are still praying for a miracle.
Already so many tender mercies have been extended.
So many friends and family have texted, sent messages and gifts, called and been to visit!
It is overwhelming... truly...
Meals are coming in by the truckload!
Our wonderful next-door-neighbor, Jacque, already has us coordinated through next week!
And they are even coming from hundreds of miles away!
Our dear friend, Jane, arranged them while poolside from her vacation in Maui!
We appreciate all of you for your amazing efforts
and your kind, understanding words of encouragement, support and hope.
Most of all, we are grateful for your faith and prayers.
We feel them! They are real!
We are humbled by your many outpourings of love!
We thank the Lord for the eternal nature of families and our testimonies of the gospel.
We have all received beautiful priesthood blessings with powerful promises.
We ask for your continued faith and prayers on our behalf.
Please pray that Bronson's life will be preserved and that his mind will be protected...
That we will be able to feel peace and clarity
when making whatever difficult decisions must be made...
And that we will have the strength and perspective to follow the spirit as it guides us
and that as we discover Heavenly Father's will, we will have the courage to follow it.
For now, please hug your babies a little tighter...
Give your children a little extra squeeze...
Be a little more patient and diligent
and a little less distracted by the things that will wait until later.
Embrace the things that matter most!
Life is so fragile...
We are holding onto it for now.