Sweet friends, this post for Thankful Thursday 01.13.2022 has been bumping around in my heart and my head for a couple of weeks now. Wanted LIFE to slow down a little before I tried to find the words to describe all the emotions to include immense gratitude that accompanied Brennyn’s delivery of my grandson Declan.
Thankful Thursday 01.13.2022
This post is a long, heart wrenching one for me to write but I hope it will explain some of what has been going in our lives lately. It is the reason I have meant when I’ve said we have been up to our ears in LIFE. But we are so thankful to have come out on the other side.
If we are Facebook friends, you may have seen the hopeful post I made as the kids drove off for the hospital before dawn on 12.20.2021. Little did we know that day would become one of our most difficult and yet, at the same time, one of our most joyous. I contemplated letting Brennyn and Mustafa slip out of the house without a kiss and photo. But that would have really been out of character! So glad I scrambled out of bed to catch them before they left.
The kids settled into the labor and delivery room and waited for the anesthesiologist and obstetrician to get things underway.
At 8:23 am, I received a message from Mustafa that they were in the operating room. Brennyn knew she would be having a C-section from the start. And by 8:34 our baby boy had been born.
Early in her pregnancy, the ultrasound technician had discovered 3 fibroid cysts competing with Declan for room in her uterus. Then several weeks before his birth, Brennyn and Mustafa had been cautioned that Declan was very small, so we were prepared for a teensy baby. Declan Ashraf measured 5 pounds 15 ounces and 19″ long. He was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction and had the cord around his neck 3 times and around his little body at least once. He swallowed a lot of fluid and had low blood sugar so the neonatal nurses that Brennyn works with were all scrambling to get his lungs suctioned and to get Declan breathing normally.
Daddy’s Special Boy
Declan’s size put him in the 6th percentile which was borderline for being admitted to the NICU. But Brennyn really didn’t want him to have to go to the NICU. Communication with the kids was pretty quiet for a while and I was beginning to worry that something had happened with our baby boy. It took about 45 minutes for the nurses to get Declan stabilized. When I began receiving photos and messages from Mustafa again, I breathed a sigh of relief. Declan took some breast milk Bren had pumped even before he was born and was contented. They were being moved to the postpartum room until a room was ready in the mother and baby unit.
PC and I were at the kids’ house with Cadence, my 11-year-old granddaughter. With all of the Covid restrictions in place at the hospital, Cady wasn’t allowed to see her baby brother. So, Paul took me to the hospital to be with Bren so Mustafa could go home for a quick shower, change clothes and pack a bag for his 2-night stay with mama and baby. Paul was going to take Cady Christmas shopping and then come back by the hospital to pick me up once Mustafa had returned.
I was in heaven meeting my only grandson for the first time, snuggling him, trying to help make Brennyn comfortable. We talked about the C-section and delivery. It was then that I learned that she had had a crisis where her blood pressure dipped to 50/27 and she had blacked out right after receiving her epidural. After moving Brennyn into the postpartum room, she had passed 2 large clots that had everyone a little concerned.
*Had to stop here and take a day before I could continue writing.
Paul had returned from Christmas shopping and was at the hospital to pick me up. He had Cady with him. They stood below the hospital room window and I held up the baby so Cadence could see her new baby brother. Mustafa was almost back to the hospital and I was going to go home for a bit.
Notice the time in this photo. Just after 3:00 pm. About 7 hours after delivery of our angel boy. Our world was about to turn upside down.
No sooner had she taken that photo, Brennyn began saying she didn’t feel right. I told her to lay back a little and thinking it was low blood sugar, I handed her a few M&Ms. Then she said everything was going black and she was seeing stars. I started to run into the hall to get the nurse but Brennyn was able to push the help button. And the nurse was at her side in seconds. Brennyn’s blood pressure had crashed again. She was mumbling and moaning and her gown had a large blood stain when we moved the blankets back. Then she fell quiet. The nurse reclined the head of her bed and then called a code.
A Little Help From Her Friends
Because Brennyn works at the hospital where Declan was born, many people knew she was there having baby boy that day. All of her NICU friends had already stopped by to see her and several were in the delivery room with her helping Declan come into the world. When the code went out on the hospital intercom, everyone realized it was Brennyn’s room number in postpartum. I mean to tell you, that tiny room filled up fast.
Sweet Mustafa had just walked back into the room as chaos ensued. I tried to explain what was happening but I wasn’t sure myself. I was holding Declan and standing back away from Brennyn’s bed so the medical professionals could help her. Many of Brennyn’s NICU friends ran into the room thinking the code had been called for Declan only to discover it was Brennyn who was in trouble. One of the NICU nurses took Declan from my arms and down to NICU. By this time there were close to 20 angels working on Brennyn from every side of the bed.
I texted Paul that I wouldn’t be coming down and for him to take Cady home. I tried to call to tell him what was happening but his phone was busy. I texted Lauren and my sister and brother and some other special people to ask them to pray. I asked Lauren to keep trying to call Paul. I texted Cady’s father, who also lives in Ft. Worth, to let him know Brennyn was in trouble and to ask him to pick up Cady from their house. I texted Brennyn’s father, with whom I haven’t spoken in years, to tell him our daughter was struggling.
The hospital room continued to fill. One of Brennyn’s friends from NICU who had been in the delivery with her, turned to Mustafa and me from her place at the bedside to explain that normally 20 people would respond to a code. But because this was Brennyn, 40 people had come running.
I love my daughter so much. Brennyn is funny, clever, very intelligent, kind, a wonderful mother and nurse. To know that she was so well loved and being so well cared for by everyone who knew her at the hospital was such a blessing, such a buoy in the midst of a horrible storm.
*Had to take a time out here to cry. In going through my photos of that day, I accidentally played an audio recording I made just as things were happening. Wanted to have recordings of what was being said and done because I knew Brennyn would ask. And I knew Lauren, her sister, and Francisco, Lauren’s doctor husband would ask. The voices on the recording are so eerily calm, giving report, announcing what is being done, keeping everyone informed. Such amazing professionals.
Someone performed a sternum rub and Brennyn fluttered her beautiful eyelashes but was still out. Still gone. It was determined that Brennyn’s uterus was filling with blood. The OB doctor did several procedures bedside to try to stop the hemorrhaging – injections, inserting clotting medications, an ultrasound of her abdomen – but nothing worked to stop the bleeding or to identify its source. My daughter began to rouse and realize what was happening. Her first concern was for Declan. She remembers seeing a nurse friend take him from my arms to take him to the NICU. He was not out of the woods himself and required sugar tests every 3 hours. She tried to speak up loud enough to instruct them not to give Declan formula, only donor milk.
Back to the Operating Room
The doctor decided they would have to take Brennyn back to the operating room. They were going to insert a bakri or balloon into her uterus that when inflated, would press against the walls of the uterus to hopefully shut off the bleeding. But if that didn’t work, they were going to have to open her again to determine what was happening. Brennyn was pleading with the doctor not to administer general anesthesia, but the doctor made no promises.
Once Brennyn was taken to OR we were informed that she would not be returning to postpartum. Would most likely be going to the surgery floor or ICU. Mustafa and I gathered up all the beautiful decorations the NICU nurses had hung about the postpartum room. Balloons, banners, clothes lines with tiny onesies hanging from clothes pins. We followed a nurse to another floor and another room.
PC was able to return to the hospital once Cady was with her father. But Cady was very upset and confused. We didn’t want to tell her too much but she knew the plan had been for me to return home that afternoon. Now she was going to her dad’s house and ‘PaPaul, ‘Mimi’ and her ‘Jack Daddy’ (Mustafa) were all at the hospital. She knew something was very wrong.
We were in this room for a couple of hours. No one seemed to know anything about Brennyn’s condition other than the bakri hadn’t worked and she was back in surgery. After some length of time, one of the nurses met us at the door just as a code was being called for a crash cart to come to the delivery operating room. My heart sank. I knew it was for Brennyn. And it was. Her blood pressure had plummeted again.
The nurse assured us that they were doing everything they could for Brennyn. And would let us know as soon as she had some news. More time elapsed. The chaplain came in. He asked to pray with us. Then he told us that he was returning to the OR to pray again with the medical staff there. Someone brought Declan to us swaddled tight in a tiny rolling bassinet. We stood over him, none of us really able to hold him. Finally, it occurred to me that Brennyn would have been holding him all this time had she been able to. I picked him up, changed his diaper, fed him a bottle of donor milk and loved him.
We finally got word that it appeared that the bleeding had slowed. And Brennyn was stable. Four and a half hours after being taken back to the OR, Brennyn was awake and alert. Praise God. Answered prayers. She was moved to the ICU.
*Just typing those words allowed me to breathe again. It seems I have been holding my breath as I type this post.
What Had Happened?
Apparently one of the fibroid cysts had grown from her uterine wall into the placenta. When the placenta was ‘born’ it had partially ripped one of the cysts from the uterine wall which caused the hemorrhaging. The bakri balloon didn’t work so the obstetrician had to go back in and clean out her uterus then apply products along the uterine wall to stop the bleeding. In total Brennyn required 8 units of blood, 2 units of platelets, and something they called cryo…not sure what that is.
Mustafa pushed 2 chairs together and slept by Brennyn’s side in ICU that first night. I slept in a rooming-in room in the NICU with Declan. No one slept more than 40 winks but we were all so very relieved to be on the other side of this disaster.
The following day was 12.21.2021. Brennyn was in significant pain but insisting on nursing Declan none the less. My precious daughter. But because she was in ICU, the baby really wasn’t permitted to come up to her. So we were alternating between bottles of donor milk and Brennyn nursing a time or two in between. She asked Mustafa to bring her breast pump, and my precious baby began pumping milk from the ICU for her precious baby. Brennyn continued to receive blood and fluids for part of the day, then early that evening when her vital signs all seemed more normal, she was moved to the mother and baby floor. There Declan would be able to room in with them. And Mustafa actually had a reclining chair to sleep in. I went home for the night.
Where are We Now?
Where are we now 3 weeks later? We are blessed. We are blessed to have come through this nightmare and to be well on the other side. Brennyn and Declan were released on 12.23.2021. Declan was a little jaundiced for about a week and Brennyn began running a fever which indicated an infection of some sort. I was terrified that she would have to have additional surgery but a round of antibiotics seemed to clear that up.
I came home a week after Brennyn and Declan were released. Mustafa has had to return to work and today is his last of 6 12-hour shifts in a row. He works as an X-ray and MRI technician and Facetimes his baby boy and Brennyn whenever he has a slow minute at the hospital. Cady is back in school after the winter holiday break. Life is returning to its new normal at the Orya house. Now with a tiny 6 pound 7-ounce boy in the mix.
Many of you have reached out to me when you realized Declan’s birth had been difficult. My sister shared a little bit with the gals in our Facebook virtual book club. And I posted a few rather cryptic messages on my regular FB page. But I just couldn’t sit down to write this out til now.
This post might be too much sharing. I struggle with knowing what is okay and what is over the top. But I talked with Brennyn about it first and she thought it would be cathartic for me. Not sure if that is the case yet as I wrap things up. I have spent most of this morning crying again. But hopefully as a release of pent-up emotions.
*And now I am crying again. Geez.
This is a favorite photo taken of my angel boy taken early this week. Declan’s first official smile. May it be the first of many, many more.
Declan’s name is Declan Ashraf Orya. Mustafa is from Afghanistan. Ashraf was the name of Mustafa’s father who died when he was just 4 years old. Our family is Irish, Scottish and English and Brennyn’s father is Panamanian. From Very Well Family, here is the meaning of the name Declan.
Origin: Declan is an Irish name meaning “full of goodness” or “man of prayer.”
That he is. I couldn’t have said it better. Thank You, God, for answered prayers.
Are you still here? I know I have ‘talked’ a blue streak but I just couldn’t figure out a way to condense this story into something short and sweet. Thank you for indulging my wordiness, my emotions, my tears.
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Before you go, throughout this whole ordeal, I kept hearing a country song play in my head. It is kind of a prayer spoken or sung by a young father. At the end of the song, you are left wondering if that family had the same happy ending we were blessed with. I would like to think so. Here’s that song.
As always, thank you for spending time with me. Oy vey, I have got to get busy around here. There is laundry to fold, ironing to do, dusting, vacuuming. The little stray kitty (actually belongs to a very neglectful neighbor) that we care for is in my bathroom after being attacked last night. I need to try to clean his wounds and see where we are with that. Off I go…
Hugs and kisses,
Bless your family! He is beautiful. Prayers for continued health for all.
Leslie Roberts Clingan
Thank you so much. We have been so blessed by all the good thoughts and prayers. Declan is thriving and Brennyn has recovered. Here’s to a wonderful 2022.
Oh, my word, Leslie! I can only imagine the emotions and nerves on end. What an ordeal you all have been through! Praise God everything finally turned out alright. That little “man of prayer” is such a beautiful miracle! I, too, am thankful that your daughter is so well-loved by her colleagues. And as chaotic and fretful as it all was, I’m so thankful you and your husband were able to be there for your daughter and her family through it all. Bless you all, and thank you for sharing. 😘
Congratulations! My goodness, what a tough time, but so thankful to hear they are home and improving. What a sweet gift!
Oh dear God, I was hanging on every word and afraid to read on. I am so glad the medical team and all of her friends came through and what a blessing that little on is. I’ll go wipe my tears now.
What an ordeal! I am so glad they both made it through to the other side and are doing well.
I read it all and I cried with you! I’m so glad that everyone is ok now. When our children – no matter their age – are in trouble, we mothers do lots of praying! He is a gorgeous child. May he grow into a wonderful man!!
Wow. Your daughter went through so much. She is a superstar. I’m so happy to hear both her and Declan made it out the other side. Also the latest picture of him is so very sweet. Also Brennyn has gorgeous eyes.
Leslie Roberts Clingan
Thank you, my sweet friend. We love that baby boy. So thankful for prayers answered and to be on the other side of a very scary experience.
Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
Wow Leslie! That’s all I can say at the moment – what a rollercoaster of scariness for you all. The joy and worry and uncertainty all mixed together would have been a nightmare. I’m so happy for you all that it worked out and everyone is home and thriving again. Declan is just gorgeous and I’m sure his birth will be a family story for decades to come. Congrats on your new grandbaby and I hope things continue in an upward sweep from here. xx
Oh my goodness, what a very stressful and distressing time for you all. I am glad to read that everyone (at the time of writing) is on the mend and growing stronger each day. My best wishes to you from across the waves in Melbourne, Australia.
Oh goodness, Leslie. You have certainly had a dreadful, worrying time and I am sure that looking back you are wondering how you got through those hours. There was definitely someone watching over your lovely daughter that day.
Now that life has calmed down and a bit of normality is taking place I bet there are still moments when you have ‘flash backs’ to that time. Send my love and hugs to Brennyn and her family x
Kellyann c Rohr
Oh Leslie, what a story. I have goosebumps. It is amazing how quickly things can turn around, isn’t it? So scary and as a mother I cannot imagine how you felt watching this all unfold. And your Brennyn. In such distress yet still making sure her precious baby is given donor milk and not formula! There is nothing like a mother’s love.
I am so glad you all are on the other side of this and that things are returning to normal. Sweet baby Declan has quite the birth story!
Continued prayers for all of you!
That is quite a story. I’m certainly happy that it all worked out but sorry you had to go through that, and your daughter must have had a tough recovery too. But the picture at the end of the baby’s smile is beautiful and a happy ending to this post at least! Hopefully all will continue to be well!
Oh Leslie, that is heart-wrenching and terrifying. So thankful Brennyn ultimately came through it all right. And that baby Declan didn’t require any extraordinary care. His smile is adorable. What a beautiful family!
So happy that everything is fine with your daughter and precious Declan. God did answer your prayers.
Leslie Roberts Clingan
Thank you, sweets. I appreciate your kind words. God is good.
Oh, my dear friend. I cannot imagine your anguish tempered by the joy of that sweet, sweet little boy (that smile!!). The time must have felt like it was dragging and yet rushing by at warp speed. I have been praying for their health and healing. I’m so glad all has come round.
What a glorious heritage your family has!
Leslie Roberts Clingan
Thank you, Marsha. We are so thankful to be where we are today after those very scary moments on Declan’s birth-day.
Oh my goodness, what a scary ordeal. I can’t even imagine going through a scare like that. Glad everyone is healthy and happy now. Beautiful baby boy!
Oh Leslie, I had goosebumps while reading this. I knew something had happened but not the details and I’m so pleased to hear that all is well now. What an ordeal for you all. Your daughter is fortunate to have been in the right place with her friends and colleagues looking after her, plus you of course! He is absolutely beautiful and you have every right to be proud. So many people take birth for granted but I never do, I’ve had too many instances like this and it is downright scary!
Thinking of you and hope that by writing it down you can let some of it go. Take care xx
Leslie, I cried along with you as I read this. Thank God there was a happy ending! And I do hope that the writing and sharing brings you some peace in your heart.
Leslie Roberts Clingan
Oh, Pat, thank you so much. It was a hard post to write but I think it did help me put that difficult day behind me. We are looking forward and the future is bright!
Oh Leslie! I remember seeing those few facebook posts and praying for you and your family! I am so, so grateful everything turned out well in the end and that Brennyn was in the hospital to get the care she and Declan needed! Your sweet Declan is absolutely precious! I am so happy for you and your family to enjoy him and give him all the cuddles now!
Leslie Roberts Clingan
Thank you so much. We are so thankful for all of the love and prayers from our friends and family.