Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 11 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Brandy Hawkins)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

October is here and I know what that means, My birthday is only weeks away and after that Halloween. Then Thanksgiving, Christmas followed by the New Year and I can't forget my big Brothers birthday. There is so much excitement that comes with all these occasions. Families look forward to these holidays.

Flash back
Growing up in a large family I knew at a young age there was nothing more in this world I wanted more then I wanted to be a mother.  Marring my high school sweetheart at the age of 18   I could see my dreams coming true. 
When we decided we were ready for our little family to grow we thought this was going to be an easy task.  We were wrong.  After many doctors,  test and God willing 5 years later we were expecting.  Everything was falling into place.  We found out we would be having a boy.  The excitement I saw in my husband melted my heart.  We picked out a name.  Started buying all those baby necessities.  Everything was perfect...... We were wrong again. 

The day before my  27th birthday was the first time we heard those terrible words.  Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia.  

Even after hearing  doctors tell me my son has little chance of life and reading all the information we found online my husband and I still had hope our Liam was going to make it.  I felt him move everyday and I knew my son was a fighter.  
December 16th was a work day and I was 28 weeks pregnant.  I woke up will this strange feeling like I just peed myself.  Being my first child I was clueless to the fact that my water broke. It was a mad rush to the local hospital were I was careflighted to the nearest hospital best suited to treat Liam's CDH.  At this time I was put on bed rest.  This meant I would not be going home till after Liam was born.  This was OK because as with every family that's expecting a CDH baby knows about the long hospital stays. Christmas,  New Years and my brothers birthday all came and went while I waited in that hospital bed.  

January 24 started like any other Saturday I  woke up in the hospital.  My dad came to visit and my husband would be taking the long drive back home to check on things.  As the afternoon approached something just wasn't right.  I started bleeding and as time went on I started contracting.  At this time everything started happening so fast.  Mad rush to L and D.  Lots of Doctors in and out telling me what to expect.  With tears in my eyes and my husband by my side we welcomed our Liam into the world.  He was 4 lbs 15 Oz.  and never made a sound.  It took them what seemed like forever to stabilize my son and take him down to the NICU.  Hearing the doctor tell my husband he would be surprised if Liam lived 30 minutes.  

It was a very long 2 hours in recovery before I got to see my son for the first time.  Seeing your baby hooked up to all those machines is  something no parent should have to see.  
Being a CDH parent you know holding your baby is just not a option when they're first born.  When the doctor walks in to ask if you want to hold your son, you know the news they're about to give is not good.  Family filled that little room and watched as my husband and I held our son for the first and last time. At 10 :48  I watched my son take his last breath in his daddies arms.  

Liam Joseph Hawkins lived 7 hours.  We never expected things to end the way they did.  We never expected to leave that hospital without our baby,  empty handed.  Looking back, I still don't see how we made it.  

So,  Mr. Sparks,  October is here and my family will never look forward to these special occasions the same way again.  A time that was once spent celebrating, is now a time we just wish would hurry up and pass.  

I enclosed 2 pictures.  One picture I believe captures the love of our little family.  The love we have for our son.  The other is one I've never really shown anyone.  This picture was taken as I watched the nurse unhook my son from the machines that were keeping him alive.  

Brandy Hawkins
Mommy to Liam

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