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  • Writer's pictureJen Chappell

Share Your Story Tuesday- Easton Ray Bryant

Easton Ray Bryant 01/18/19 - 01/31/19

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”

- Edna St. Vincent Millay

The day that Jake and I found out that were were going to become parents, we experience a wave of emotions, from anxiousness to overwhelming joy. I immediately started to google and read all about pregnancy, giving birth, what not to do, what to do and how to prepare. We had only told close family and a few friends that we were expecting because I wanted to wait until after our first anatomy scan to make sure everything was smooth sailing. Seeing our little baby for the first time was unexplainable. So much love already. We announced to family and friends over social media towards the end of June 2018.

Of course we had to get soon-to-be big sister Bella (our pug) in on the announcement. And come September 2018 and we were over the moon to find out when we were going to have a baby BOY! I knew he was a boy, call it mother’s intuition but I just had that feeling.

My pregnancy was a breeze and I loved it. I could count on one hand how many times I had morning sickness. And feeling our sweet boy move for the first time was a feeling that is embedded in my heart. Easton loved cereal and I basically lived off of any and every cereal out there.

Fast forward to January 11, 2019, I had lost my plug and after that I had started to have contractions. Minor, here and there, but I was very aware of the contractions. Sunday, January 13, we decided to go up to the hospital just to make sure Easton and I were ok and to see if I had dilated any further. We were both in good condition and I was only dilated at a fingertip. They monitored baby and I for an hour then sent us home. The next day, I decided to start my leave since I was only 1 week away from my due date and was miserable at this point. Tuesday, January 15th, I had my weekly appointment with my OB. Still having contractions but Easton and I were still doing well and I had made a little bit of progress now dilated to a 1 -2. My OB stripped my membranes and scheduled me to be induced January 21, the day after my due date.

But we didn't make it that far. That Friday, January 18th, at 3:30 am, I woke up with the strongest contractions I had experience so far and I did not like it. I had no idea if it was actual labor or not but we waited and counted my contractions then headed to the hospital just as my OB had instructed. I was wheeled up to the third floor from the ER where I was approached by the same sweet nurse I had on that sunday. Once I was in the triage room, the nurse was feeling my belly and started to ask me a few questions. The one question that did not settle well with my heart was when she had asked if I had taken a hot bath or shower prior to arriving to the hospital. I knew the second she asked me that question that something was not right. I answered no and at that point they had the monitors on me and baby. I was dilated at a 2 with my water intact. Easton was hardly moving and was almost flat-lined and that is when I started to worry the most. The nurses had explained to me that I had a rupture in my placenta and they immediately called my OB. He was in surgery and so was his back up. So there we waited for the on-call OB. I was scared. So worried. I felt so so helpless. I prayed so hard for everything to be ok and that both Easton and I would make it out of surgery healthy and happy.

I will never forget the doctor's first words as he cut me open: "Blood. There's a lot of blood." And at 7:22 AM, January 18th, 2019, our sweet Easton Ray Bryant came into this world. Not a sound came from our sweet perfect baby boy. I cried so hard. I got to kiss him as they took him and his daddy Jake

to the NICU. My heart was broken. And the rest of that night was a blur as they finished closing me up and I was knocked out by anesthesia.

The next day, after all the anesthesia wore off, I was able to visit Easton in the NICU. It absolutely broke my heart to see him hooked up to all sorts of machines, IV’s and how many tubes everywhere. He spent three days in the NICU with multiple complications from my placenta rupture as well as delivery. At 5am Sunday January 21st, we were awoken by the Neonatologist letting us know that Easton’s kidneys were starting to fail and that he needed to be transferred to Cook Children’s Medical

Center in Fort Worth, TX. We waited for the transport team to come from Forth Worth, as soon as they got there, they started to prepare Easton to be transported. One of them sat with us and went over everything. Since Easton was in such critical condition, they did inform us that there was a possibility that he would not make the entire flight. There we were in tears as we said what we thought were our last goodbyes to the most perfect boy.

We live in Amarillo, TX which is five hours from Fort Worth. That drive was the longest drive of my entire life. The constant worry if Easton was going to make it through the flight but also trying to get some rest since I had not really had any and the fact that I had major surgery just three days prior. We were about an hour out from Fort Worth when I received a call. It was his Neonatologist at Cook Children’s informing us that he made it safe and sound and that they were already working to get him more stabilized. We finally arrived at Cook Children’s and straight to the NICU we went. Nurses and doctors still working endlessly and tirelessly to do everything they could for our sweet boy. I wish I had

the words for every nurse and doctor that cared for Easton because they were simply amazing. And we were finally able to hold him for the first time after nine days of not being able to hold him. We will never forget that day. So many tears.

Every day that we spent in that NICU, Easton seemed to make progress. But we still were not sure exactly what state he was in from everything that he endured. Two separate EEG’s were performed to monitor Easton's brain activity and the doctors were not seeing any activity. It was hard to have any hope after those to scans of his brain but we did the best we could. We stayed strong for each other and prayed our hearts out.

On Monday, January 28th, Easton was finally stable enough to get an MRI scan of his brain - which is what the doctors had been trying to achieve since he had arrived at Cook Children’s. We waited for what felt like an eternity for him to get back from his MRI. We cried. We prayed. We tried not to worry but that is all that we could do. Jake and I were alone this day, as both our parents had gone back home for a few days to check in at work, grab some more of our belongings and such.

Finally, our sweet baby was back in his room where we awaited. Not long after that, Dr. Schmidt his Neonatologist came in and my heart sank. The look she had on her face said it all...

Unfortunately, Easton’s MRI results were not what they wanted, she told us. We found out that our sweet boy would not make it. He had sustained severe brain damage from the lack of oxygen in my placenta when the rupture occurred. And there, Jake and I sat staring at our precious baby boy. Our sweet baby who we never got to hear cry, see him open his eyes, see his smile, and we would never be able to. We sat in silence for hours. Because what do you do or say when you’ve just been informed

that your perfect, sweet and innocent baby boy is brain dead. You sit there numb, blank, trying to comprehend. Trying to figure out how you’re supposed to go on in life without your child.

That day is embedded in my brain. The day we had to make the hardest decision of our lives: to take our son off of the ventilator and let him pass away naturally. We waited until family arrived the next day to take him off of the ventilator. All day long, both of our families got to spend time with Easton, loving and holding him. We were also able to have pictures of him taken by the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep organization that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. After a long day of loving on Easton and family in and out of his room, all but Jake, his mom, and I stayed after midnight to love on him longer and wait for that last breath. We wanted all the time in the world with him but we ultimately knew that, that last breath was to come. I will never forget how his body temperature slowly started to drop as I was holding him. I had him wrapped in his blue fox blankie as I rocked him back and forth in a rocking chair. I told him everything. About how much we loved him, how perfect and such a fighter he was, to how we would see him again one day. And after a long 14 hour fight, Easton took his last breath at 2:22 am. Leaving him alone in that NICU room was so hard for us. I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to face the reality of having to go back home and bury our son.

And on February 2, 2019 we laid our sweet baby boy to rest. We miss and love him dearly with each day that passes. And we will do so for the rest of our lives.

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