Sunday, February 9, 2014

#8 - Journal Entry from December 24, 2010

Last night after the polygraph the police sent Health and Welfare to inspect Jason's parent's house so that it would be approved as a safe place for our kids to stay.  They informed us that with Christmas coming, we would be fine to visit our kids there, but we are not to be left alone with them, take them anywhere, and we cannot spend the night there.  I can't imagine not being able to see my kids over Christmas.  It's a tender mercy from God that we are able to be together.  It sounds ridiculous to be supervised with our own kids, but we will do whatever they need us to do.  It's hard to pull myself from Bryer's side anyway.  They also told us that since we are under watchful eye with Bryer since she has her own nurse, that we could continue to stay by her bedside.  Jason and I are still sleeping in the hospital Sleep Room a few hours each night, right down the hall from Bryer.  It's convenient for pumping breast milk and being near if something changes with her quickly. 

Bryer's sedation meds are being weaned slowly and today she proved that she's 'in there' and she's come ready to fight.  She had small leg responses this morning.  The fluid and brain swelling is continuing to come down, an answer to many prayers.  She is proving the doctors wrong on their most extreme scenario that she might not make it.  The next step - to prove that she can respond beyond a vegetative state.  They expect that she may open her eyes in the next day or so as her meds continue to wear off.  Her eyes are still very swollen from the awful eye exam so sleeping just looks like it would be more comfortable for her.  Her ears are fading from the purple color they were when I found her not breathing.  This afternoon she yawned and stretched her wrinkly little legs!  She acts like a little princess that has been asleep a very long time.  Jason's good friend came to visit and reminded us that when Sleeping Beauty was in hiding, her name was changed to Briar Rose.  It fits her so perfectly - our little Sleeping Beauty, Bryer Rose!  We didn't give Bryer a middle name when she was born, but I think Rose may stick.  They are also trying to wean her off the oxygen machine to see if she can breath on her own and she has done well with it so far, keeping up her oxygen saturation levels.  They have an EEG on her head to monitor seizure activity.  It's dozens of little probes stuck to her scalp with wires coming out to attach them to a machine next to her with a screen we can watch.  We can see brain activity change when we sing to her.  She has gauze wrapped around her head, maybe to keep them protected or coming into contact with anything else.  We have been instructed that if we see any seizure activity, we're supposed to click a button attached to the machine and write down what we saw and what time so they can go back to the video.  It can be as subtle as a lip quiver or a thumb twitch, so I don't want to miss anything that would be significant.  Her little toes stick out from under her blanket, showing off her red polished toe nails I painted last week before this whole nightmare started. 

Having someone to sit with Bryer if I have to leave has become more crucial, now that she could show more signs of waking up.  I am more torn with spending time with our other 4, but wanting to be there for Bryer too.  The timing of Christmas makes it harder for our family to be split in two.  I want there to be a familiar face for her to see or a voice to sing and talk to her, but I also want my older kids to remember Christmas as a family.  I made sure my yesterday's-shirt was with Bryer when I left today so she has my scent close to her.  We left for a little bit to spend time with our kids for Christmas Eve.  Our tradition is to use the leftover Halloween candy to decorate a birthday cake for Baby Jesus.  We set a piece out for Santa instead of cookies each year.  Our Halloween candy was at home, hours away on snowy roads, so my Mom showed up at the hospital this morning with a grocery bag full of supplies to make and decorate the cake, and then sat with Bryer for us, a blessing to allow me to try to enjoy the day.  I can't say how refreshing a little bit of 'normal' was for me today, doing that activity with my 4 older kids.  During different situations as a mom, I have felt conflicted in making sure the fun times are documented - video, pictures, something.  But that distracts from me being involved in the fun.  Today it was not a question.  For the first time, my eyes weren't behind the camera capturing this yearly tradition.  I was soaking in all the giggles and sticky fingers first hand.   My spirit desperately needed to enjoy the decorating adventure with my kids, not just record them doing it.  Hunter made a mountain of salt and covered it in frosting, his practical joke to trick Santa.  With him being 10, I wonder if this is the last year that all my kids will believe in Santa.  We piled on the candy, sprinkles, marshmallows, and chocolate chips. 

We pulled the kids aside to talk to them about Bryer and our situation.  We reminded them about the family night we had when we talked about Mom and Dad dying.  They repeated back to us the details of how they would live with Grandma and Grandpa.  As we don't know what happened with Bryer on that day, we are careful not to skew their memory or perceptions of things.  We explained that the doctors and police wanted to make sure that everyone is safe in our family so this was the plan we would do while we had to stay at the hospital with Bryer.  They got it!  In their little minds - at 10, 6, 4, and 2, they understood each at their own level and remembered what God had prompted us to do months earlier!  That was a great blessing for them to remember and put it into action.  It relieved worries and tension and trauma.  It was like we were just running through the fire drill we already practiced for. 

After our discussion we opened the gifts that I picked out from the hospital toy drive.  I explained to the kids where the gifts came from and what a fun blessing it is to our family to have these fun surprises.  As an avid photographer, it kind of kills me not to have pictures of our day today, but the memories are etched in my mind.  Today my soul was filled up as much as it could be without our littlest girl there with us. 

We have received so many cards, texts, visitors, and messages from people letting us know they are praying for Bryer.  Some of these are faith-filled people with strong testimonies of prayer.  Some people have not had a relationship with God in the past, or have just let life get in the way of the relationship that was once there.  A girl named Mandy started texting me, saying she was praying for our family.  I felt silly, but asked who she was, unaware of anyone named Mandy that would have my cell number.  She gave her full name and I was immediately touched.  This was a friend of mine from our small town who had started coming back to church little by little quite a few years back.  At first it was our church cooking class, then Relief Society (our church's women's group), then for our regular church meetings.  Shortly after, she started bringing her husband and 2 boys.  Just when I felt things with their family were progressing, they stopped coming all together.  She quit returning my calls, I felt she would avoid me in the grocery store, and our friendship dwindled and I was never sure why she changed so suddenly.  Now she was praying for our family?!  After texting back and forth with Mandy the past few days, I have started to wonder if our situation has a bigger purpose.  Mandy was one, but there are many others praying. 
True, honest, heartfelt, pleading prayers to God for one tiny little baby girl. 
Conversations with Him that haven't taken place in months or even years. 
Can it be that God will use their prayers and the ounces of faith they have left, to help Bryer?  
Even as frail and little as she is, could it be that Bryer has a mission on this earth to bring more people back to God or to strengthen the relationships already there?  If this is the case, then the rest of us as Bryer's support are just along for the ride to add our faith to theirs.  I feel strongly that God has great confidence in us to handle what's been placed before us. 
As it says in the scriptures, "...and a little child shall lead them." 


  1. I read these and my heart swells with the immense faith that was (and is) being exhibited. And then I cry... because I just so hurt and touched all a the same time. I so glad we are friends.

    1. Thank you Ja'Nette! I so appreciate your support and emotional attachment right along with us. You are a blessing to me!