March 20, 2011: 12:51am
March 27, 2011: 8:57pm
Brice, was conceived in the fabulous city of Las Vegas where his mommy and daddy (Trisha and Connel P.) were married on November 2, 2010. We at first were so scared when Trisha came into the room and told me she was probably pregnant, we had almost done this play by play before. Trisha’s fear soon became bliss before my fear had even turned around. I just smiled and was there for her 100% even though I was so scared inside. She was always so strong.
At first baby Brice didn’t have a name, well considering I was still trying to get his mother into the Marine Corps as an official wife, she was not even on Tricare Prime yet, so this meant her appointments she was making back home in Florida stopped before she knew the sex of the baby.
So by the time she was fully enrolled we made the 1st appt we could get on base at the Naval hospital for an ultra sound. It had been almost 2 months since her last ultrasound because of the switching of her insurance so we were so anxious, and of coarse the baby did not want to help with the ultrasound, always was a fighter. When we first heard that our little baby was a boy I cant tell you I was shocked seeing how there has not been a girl on my side of the family for a century. However it was a huge relief because we both wanted a baby boy for our 1st child because well you need a big brother for your little princess if we were to have a little girl at a later date.
Then started the ordeal of naming our little boy. We had a problem seeing how I am in the Marine Corps and we could not name him after any of the 100 men I work with, great men all of them but, well you probably wouldn’t get it unless you were a marine in our group. After turning down dozens of each others names and thinking maybe we should just name him after some booze, maybe Johnnie Blue, how about Brewer, no maybe Morgan and we can just call him Captain. All of the above played through our head and Johnnie Blue really was awesome but I just couldn’t sway the wife to agree with me, however grandpa Chris was on track. Anyhow it came down to Luke, Trisha’s idea and I thought finally wow a name that isn’t in the platoon… but it had one problem, one day I would have to say the line “Luke… I am your father” and that just couldn’t be.
So back to the drawing board by this time Trisha had given up we were just going to have to call him baby boy for the first years of his life until someone else named him. But she didn’t think I was however I was thinking about it at work while I sat in my friends rooms doing NOTHING we were brainstorming names for our little boy. I came up with Brice and asked Trisha what she thought about it, she loved it and it was an instant hit with the family who I am very close with, both her and my side. So Brice Connel Parsons is what we ended up with, he was our everything from that second.
We started acquiring things for little Brice, I got her a diaper bag Coach very nice, would have went with an old Nike bag but what ever to make her happy, and she was she loved that bag. His loving Grandma who I believe might be a super grandma, my mom got him the best travel system on the market and it was amazing I just couldn’t wait to put that car seat in my car and fly down the road listening to him laugh in the back.
We went to the doctors probably 2 times a week minimum during the last 3-4 months of her one of his ultrasounds had revealed that he might have been missing one of his kidneys, I was crushed, but once again Trisha was so optimistic and had looked up and researched about everything there was to know about living with only one kidney. She told me everything and apparently it was not even that uncommon 1 in 700 males are born without one of there kidneys and most of those people don’t even know they don’t have a kidney. She was always the one to stay strong, sure I looked like nothing phased me that’s my job I am the man of the family. But knowing your little boy has a problem where he cant fight competitively he cant join the military he cant play full contact sports, it sucked. Trisha said well his grandpa can teach him to golf and then maybe he will make us a ton of money one day. She was always so great! So a few more ultrasounds and a trip to a specialist in palm springs proved that baby Brice did indeed have only one kidney.
We continued to love him just the same thinking not even a big problem. A few weeks of appointments went by then we were told at an ultrasound that he was small he was only weighing in the 11th percentile. We didn’t want any more bad news once again I was trying to dig, dig, dig for information and Trisha was the strong one to tell me all about what was going wrong and that everything would be okay. Shit if she wasn’t scared why would I be. I just started cooking everything with a little more butter and a little more cheese and maybe getting her that ice cream she always wanted.
As if our baby boy hasn’t given us enough to worry about at our next ultrasound we found out that a c section is the only way to have baby Brice because he was so badly breached almost completely sideways. By this point news couldn’t get any worse we were both prepared for anything we said bring it we got this ready for it all. We had our c-section scheduled for the 23rd of march and pre op she would be in there the 22nd. Again I have a problem and I said I would go to her next NST (non stress test) for Brice’s weight to make sure he was still getting all of his nutrients and such. He always did good on them but this time I wanted to ask the doctor a very important question. At this current time our platoon was supposed to be deployed, as if we haven’t had any other problems and stressors during my wife’s pregnancy.
I asked to deliver him on the 18th that way maybe if we deployed right then I could have some time with my son and get everything done. Apparently they won't honor that, we tried I think that Trisha’s strength didn’t extend this far she seemed hurt though she didn’t say it. It was time for me to start taking the strong shoulder to cry on roll. My wife needed me and I was there. I did everything I could for her. We spent a lot of time at home together even though I probably should have been on “standby” at work like a jackass, I just came home to be with her. We continued to have Trisha do everything perfect with her pregnancy (no drinking not smoking but worst of all no sushi) and she abided by all the rules and did everything flawlessly.
In the early morning of the 20th my whole life basically reset when coming home from a friendly get to gather I was almost completely in bed Trisha was still washing up when her water broke. This although was a natural part in every pregnancy, this is where my whole life was turned upside down. Our little boys umbilical cord was prolapsed meaning it fell out and was hanging out of her (sorry for the image) I was pretty much going nuts by this point I had got her in my car and got on base in roughly 1 min 50 seconds and Trisha had been a trooper and even though in so much pain she had actually called the Naval hospital while we were speeding down the road to base. We flew through the front gate and got to the hospital and on the proper floor in under 7min and 45 seconds from the time her water broke. By the time I made it upstairs it was time for me to be the big guy. Trisha was in so much pain they were holding her cord in while the OR was prepped we were the only ones on the whole floor so everyone there knew her. All I could do was hold her hand and rub her back.
They took her whole bed away shortly after and I melted into the floor as I saw the nurses sprinting through the hall. They put her out and brought her back with the baby delivered in under 20 minutes from the time her water broke. It was fast, but it wasn’t over. Trisha had not yet even woken up before her baby boy was taken to intensive care. He was born into this world not technically alive. He began breathing and they woke mom and she woke up to hearing all of this about her baby boy who I was with. I knew then that I had to be the strong one.
Brice was recommended to higher echelon care at the naval hospital almost immediately. I had signed all the paper work and a helicopter was coming for him. I told mom what was going on and made sure she was okay. I called everyone and then I was told again more bad news… The weather conditions did not permit the helicopter to take off from the Loma Linda University Medical Center. They had to send an ambulance. So they did and as they were stabilizing my baby I had to leave and tell his mommy what was going on.
This was the 1st time of many so come I had her cry on my shoulders. No amount of morphine could stop her from feeling the pain that we had just started feeling. The Loma Linda Transport team arrived and assured me that they would bring Brice into moms room so she could see him before they had to leave. They brought her son into the room in a glass box they put one wall down and mom touched his beautiful face before they rushed him off, in trade leaving her with a stuffed bear that we named Brice bear.
I began being the only link between my wife and her little boy that was 100 miles away at a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I dedicated myself to bringing him the little milk mom could produce everyday and bringing back pictures. About 650 miles later. I could tell Trisha what might actually be going on with our baby. It turns out that at first he was just heavily struck by the lack of oxygen at birth and he would need a special cooling treatment. So he had aloud his treatment to go. 72 hours at 30 degrees C and almost no answers until it was over. You think you have been though a lot after I drove back from 200 miles of driving that day alone I had to tell my wife that not only can her son not eat the milk I have been bringing but we wont know ANYTHING until he’s done with this cooling treatment.
I went back to the naval hospital to try and help Trisha start walking again and moving around in hopes that I could get her to her son faster. The first day that I returned from the hospital my dad had to drive because I cried the whole way back, but I never let Trisha see me cry. I told her how he was doing and that he was stable and in the best of hands. I don’t know if it was the morphine she could get w
ith the click of a button or what but she never showed what she was feeling.
After a lot of pain I ended up getting her out of the hospital and going to see her baby. When I took her to his room and she rounded the corner to see her baby boy hooked up to a ventilator with tubes and wires everywhere she all of a sudden melted, she was crushed. You can only be so tough and seeing your baby boy all swollen from fluids and a little hat with a hole cut in the top so his brain monitoring wires can come out, with a tube in his stomach wires on his chest, IV lines in his feet, monitors on his wrists, the list goes on, but you can only be so strong. That was when we really knew that Brice was very sick. At Loma Linda there are hundreds of nurses, and a ton of doctors. So much that while Brice was there he must have had 5 different nurses that we met. But one stood out among the rest, she decided right away that she wanted to be Brice’s primary nurse and was there more than all the rest, her name was Erica and she cared for Brice so much that she made it easier for us to leave him to her when we had to go.
Day by day we would go to the hospital roughly 6-8 hours a day we would go in the morning leave for lunch and so Trisha could nap due to her blood loss she probably should have still been in the hospital but she wasn’t she was walking around to get to her son 2 days after an emergency surgery.
The daily updates seemed hope filled until the morning of the 24th when we got a call in the morning to come down to the hospital. We immediately thought the worst, when we arrived however we saw Brice and he was doing good it was such a relief. However we still needed to find the doctor that called us, this had been the 1st time an actual Neonatologist had called us. We met with Doctor Hopper, just in our conversation with him
we knew he was a very smart individual who knew everything about his profession and more. He was the 1st to tell us what he was thinking without sugar coating anything without interpreting everything for us and he let us think with raw facts instead of beating around the scary facts.
Doctor Hopper was the 1st to tell us up front that Brice had suffered a serious insult to his brain, He was deprived of oxygen when the cord was prolapsed for an unknown period of time. During this time Brice was being cooled it’s a process where they keep the baby at 34 degrees C, to lower his body’s metabolic rate and slow, freeze, or in some cases reverse any adverse side effects that being oxygen deprived had had on his internals. 72 hours he would be cooled for before they could really start running some real tests simply because the way he reacts to things while he is cold like that is totally different then when he would be at his normal temperature.
A few days went by and they started warming him back up, this is where they expect to see some good things start to happen. Not the case with our baby boy. He took such a serious hit to his brain that once they started warming him up it simply uncovered all the problems he really had due to this trauma to his brain. Brice’s blood pressure became rapidly unstable and while being cooled they could take him off the ventilator and he could breath of his own if it wasn’t for his lack of a gag reflex which didn’t allow him to protect his airways he could have been on room air, but once they started warming him up they had to change him to an even more efficient ventilator called a high frequency vent. He could not keep his oxygen count in his blood normal either and was increased from zero additional oxygen to 100% within the span of one day, he also had seizure activity so to calm his brain down they had given him the largest dose of Phenobarbital they could give an infant. So he was pretty groggy and relaxed but he could react to certain things.
The Doctor went over what they were most scared of, and that is that the gag reflex is a brain stem thing, its automatic you don’t have to think about it. If you don’t have one your throat will not automatically swallow the secretions and they will end up in your lungs and you will get bad pneumonia or choke constantly. So this was a main focus for the obvious reasons but what it really pointed to was if that wasn’t there, what else wouldn’t be there also? This was one of the most primitive functions of the brain and one of the most protected as well, your body will shut down most all of its non essential organs before anything in the brain. In baby Brice’s case he only had one kidney and his body luckily knew that they couldn’t shut that down.
So his physical problems were only the tip of a very large iceberg. When we heard all of this for the 1st time it was devastating. Even though Brice could not eat because his gut was turned off Trisha persistently brought him breast milk in hopes that he would get better and it all started getting stockpiled in his freezer. We were then told for the first time that Brice is a very sick baby and he is not seeming to get better and someone told us that he may actually die. We felt a pain that I can not describe something like a mix of fear, sadness, sorrow, confusion, and sorry for our baby boy all at the same time, I took one look at Trisha who was about to cry and knew that she felt the exact same overwhelming pain. We were told by the Neurologist that the best case scenario for Brice if everything went absolutely perfect from here on out, if his body did respond to the drugs the correct way if they could get his blood pressure stable and his heart rate up, that he would never lead a normal life. They said that our baby boy may never breath on his own, he would never react the way a healthy kid would, he may never get the taste of food in his mouth because he would need to be fed through a tube, but above all of this they said there’s a good chance he may never really know who we are…
We cried together and for the 1st time we were faced with the very real situation where our dreams of this family and all the things we planned and all the fun we head dreamt about will never exist. And that our baby boy's whole life will have been lived without ever even going outside a hospital or an ambulance. We spent every moment we could with our baby boy, holding his little hands for hours while they played catch up with his oxygen saturation with the aid of nitric oxide to try to boost the amount of air in his blood. We brought him little hats for his head, we spent all of our time with him.
The next day March 27th we woke up early and got to the hospital. There was a special photography company coming in to take professional photos of my little family and our baby boy. These people knew exactly what we were going through and though they have a business to run they came in for free and took some of the most amazing pictures for us so that we could have them for ever. This was one of the best morning Brice had ever had for the first time doctor Adams had pulled up a chair to his bedside and adjusted all his tubes and wires so that we could hold him.
One of his conditions he had made it so even the slightest noise or touch could cause him to de-sat quickly meaning all of his numbers franticly drop and rise and become unstable, so Doctor Adams one extra nurse and Brice’s repertory therapist Randy stayed there knowing how bad he was going to get. However despite all of the doctors thoughts when they picked him up off the bed and handed him to Trisha his numbers didn’t drop he didn’t have a seizure instead his heart rate went back up from 89 all the way to 134, his blood pressure remained stable if not got better, his oxygenation was perfect back from 86 to 100%. It was almost like Brice knew his mommy and daddy were there for him and he wanted to show us that he was strong.
For the 1st time Brice despite all the swelling in his little face opened his eyes and we knew he saw us. And we were together they took most of his IV lines out so that we could just hold him like he was a normal boy, he still had to be hooked up to the Oscillator however. Brice knew we were there and he wanted us to know that he was too, instead of laying still and asleep he moved a little bit his eyes looked around then stared at his mommy.
Brice remained stable and better than ever for hours that morning for his mommy and daddy. But such a little baby can only be so strong. His numbers were slowly coming back down to where they were. We decided to let him rest back in his little hospital bed. He was so happy that morning. We went outside to get some fresh air and we sent my mom to get us some burgers, we got some for everyone even Trisha’s dad Chris ate one despite his heart stents he needed a burger. We all ate them in the family room across from Brice’s room. We were periodically checking on him that day and just hanging out in the hospital with him.
He had such a great morning but he was wore out. His heart rate slowly trickled back down to the high 80s, it was our sign to me and his mommy that he was ready. It was the doctors thoughts that Brice would not make it much longer they had been throwing everything in there power at him the last few days just to keep him alive he was on the highest doses you can give an infant of two or three meds, so much that it had to be constantly fed to him intravenously. When me and his mommy went to check on him another time his heart rate and blood pressure were still slowing down, we knew our baby boy would not last one more night. He was given just a small bit of morphine so that we could be sure he wasn’t hurting at all.
Doctor Adams came in again and she suggested that we take him into our private family room so in his last moments he is with his mommy and daddy and not in such a public place. We had brought him a little outfit and a new little hat and jacket and socks, Erika let us give him a bath and care for him like every parent should she let us comb his hair and we got all the glue out of it that was left behind from the bundle of wires he had attached to his head to monitor his brains activity. We took off his wires and got him in his 1st outfit he ever wore. Before this point, he couldn’t ware any cloths because of all the monitors and wires and tubes sticking out of him. Erika helped us and he smelled like a baby again he was so clean and his hair was perfect his little outfit he looked so great in.
Doctor Adams came in again and made sure we were ready, she let us take him across the hall to the family room and we held our baby boy. He fought hard for two hours in our arms in his outfit with his blue blanket laying on a bed we made out of pillows. We told him that he was so strong and his mommy and daddy were there for him and he didn’t have to be strong anymore. I told him that his mommy and daddy will always love you, we told him that no mater what he will always be our first little baby boy. Shortly after I told him that the carbon dioxide had built up in his blood and he had fallen asleep never to wake up again.
Our little boy died in the arms of his loving parents we knew that he loved us just the same he just was too sick he gave us 7 great days with him each day was so great. He went through more in those 7 days than anyone could ever go through or should go through. He was the strongest baby there ever was. He passed away at 8:57 that night. It was the saddest thing that has ever happened to me and to my wife.
Our love for our little boy will never go away the hurt will always be there. Just two days after he left us now and its amazing all the things that will remind us of our little baby boy every day, it’s a thought that can never leave my mind. He is always there in our hearts. We love you Brice always and forever.