Bradley’s Story

As told by his mother Lindsey.


On the morning of Wednesday, Sept 2, 2015, I went in for a routine appointment with my perinatalogist (high risk). I was going to get an ultrasound to check if my placenta had moved up. I was in to see my doctor 7 weeks prior and the ultrasound showed I had a low lying placenta so this appointment was purely just to check to see where it was at. Shortly after starting the ultrasound, my doctor turned to me and said, “Lindsey you have no fluid….and when did your water break?”


Both of these things were news to me. I did not know that my water broke. The doctor responded that it could have been a slow leak so, it wasn’t enough for me to even notice. She then proceeded to explain to me what was going to happen next, I was going to be admitted to the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy. By 8:30 in the morning, I was already in my “new home” for the next 12 weeks. I immediately was started on IV fluids (to help with hydration for both the baby and I), magnesium (to prevent brain bleeds in the baby), antibiotics (to prevent infection for both the baby and I), and a steroid shot (to help the baby’s lungs develop).  The nurses warned me that the magnesium was going to burn going in and make me feel hot. Oh man, did that burn and it wasn’t just a quick burn, and it was over. The burning sensation lasted at least 15 minutes or so and would happen every couple hours. Within an hour time, I had my blood drawn. I already knew it would come back positive for antibodies. I am Rh negative. [During my 1st pregnancy I must have become sensitized from the delivery or at some point, my blood (Rh negative) and my first son’s blood mixed (Rh positive) which caused my body to start producing positive antibodies. (At week 28 of my first pregnancy, I did get the Rhogam shot and after delivery I had another shot. There is a small percentage that the shot won’t take and I happen to be part of the minority.) During this pregnancy I was tested for these antibodies in the first trimester and they came back positive.] When the blood test came back positive for antibodies, I wasn’t surprised.


A lot of what happened during the 8 hours I was being monitored, I do not remember. Much had happened. My OB doctor came in during the morning and explained that we would try to keep the baby in for as long as possible, 34 weeks being the maximum that they would wait, and be prepared for a C-section.  I asked her what the average wait until I would have to go for a C-section given my situation, she answered, ” within the next couple weeks”. I was not expecting to hear that, but I was slowly starting to accept the fact that I would be on bedrest for at least the next several weeks.


I had several ultrasounds during the course of the day. The last ultrasound they were waiting for him to move and if they didn’t see him move, then they would call my OB to see what the next course of action would be. The baby wasn’t moving. My OB was notified. At around 4:30pm, the nurse came in and told me my OB wanted to take me back for an emergency C-section. I had a feeling all day that he was going to be born by the end of the day, I just didn’t think it was actually going to happen. They quickly starting prepping me. I had to say good bye to Zach and my Mom. My husband was able to stay with me. I had no idea how all this was going to play out. I was taken back to the operating room, where I had a spinal tap, a second IV put in (just in case I needed a blood transfusion), and was all prepped for the doctor. I was told when the Neonatal doctor was in the room and a whole NICU team was ready for Bradley’s arrival. My husband was able to join me in the room, minutes before Bradley was born.


Bradley David Lynch was born September 2, 2015 at 5:46 pm. 2 lbs 13 ozs and 14.5 inches long.


I could feel when he was being taken out of me, there was a build up of pressure right before they pulled him out. No cries. I wasn’t really expecting to hear him cry. I really didn’t know what to expect. (According to his medical records, he was born blue, resuscitated two times within the first 5 minutes) After he was stabilized, he was wheeled by me so I could at least see him and then they took him straight to the NICU.


{7 pm} A little over an hour after he was born {while I was still in the recovery room} the neonatal doctor came to see me to tell me he needed my consent to perform an exchange transfusion on Bradley. He stated that it was the only way to save his life. There were no other options. I, without hesitation, signed the consent form. He basically told me that my antibodies were in Bradley’s blood and rapidly destroying his red blood cells. Bradley was literally fighting for his life.


Within six hours of being born, Bradley underwent an exchange transfusion in the hopes that would get rid of some of my antibodies. My husband was by his side throughout the whole procedure and keeping me updated on how Bradley was doing.


{Thursday, September 3, 2015} By mid-morning, I was finally able to make it down to the NICU to touch Bradley for the first time. Even though I only was able to hold his hand with my finger, it was all I needed. This was the only time that he actually somewhat grabbed my finger.


He was in an isolette with tubes and wires running through him. He was on oxygen and nitric oxide. His heart rate always averaged around 180-200. Within 48 hours of being born, Bradley had over a dozen different diagnoses. To name a few: Rh isommunization, hydrops, severe anemia, acute renal failure, brain bleeds and pulmonary hypertension.


Over the course of the 4 days, a lot had happened. Bradley’s doctors were constantly keeping us up to date on his condition. Every four hours Bradley had blood work done and my husband would always try to make it down to the NICU when they would get the results back. Bradley was never considered “stable” throughout his stay. By the end, he was on maximum doses for various medications and his condition never improved only worsened.


{Friday, September 4, 2015} Bradley’s neonatal doctor came into my room and we were told the results of the brain scan, Bradley had grade 3 brain bleeds. The part that most concerned the doctors that along with the fresh blood there was also layers of dried blood, that would have happened in utero. The doctors didn’t know how long he had been bleeding and they were very worried about permanent brain damage. Under normal condition, the doctors would do surgery for his brain bleeds but, Bradley was not stable enough. He had too many other issues that needed to be addressed first.

In the doctor’s words, “Bradley is a very sick baby.”


{Saturday, September 5, 2015} On one of our visits down to the NICU, the nurses were about to do the routine temperature check and diaper change and asked if I would want to do it. I was so excited that I actually got to help out. I know it sounds weird but, this was first time I felt like I was taking care of him since he had been born. My husband was able to do the same four hours later when it was time to change him again.


It is extremely hard having a piece of plastic dividing you and your baby, feeling completely helpless.


{Sunday, September 6, 2015} Around 8-8:30am Bradley’s neonatologist came in to my room and told us he has some bad news. My heart physically sank. I could not imagine what he was about to tell us. It felt like those moments where you physically were present but your mind was not. According to the doctor: At around 6 am the nurse notified the doctor that Bradley’s abdomen looked a little greyish in color. Upon further examination, Bradley had a perforated bowel and would need surgery to fix it. The doctor had consulted with the surgeon and given Bradley’s condition and the fact that the surgery was already high risk, the outcome could not be determined.


Throughout Bradley’s stay, we were often warned that many of the medicines or procedures being administered would have a negative impact on Bradley in some other area. The procedures/medicines were necessary at that time to keep Bradley alive and we would have to accept the risks and harm they would lead to. Bradley’s odds of making it through surgery were against him. If he was to make it through the surgery, there would most likely be permanent brain damage to Bradley. The doctor had informed us that he was going to have this same talk with us the next day after the results of Bradley’s second brain scan came back. Bradley had a large amount of odds to overcome to survive. The doctors did not believe that Bradley was in a stable enough condition to make it through the necessary surgeries. They had estimated that even if he was able to survive through all of these procedures that he would have an extremely low quality of life.


The doctor discussed the options that we had, go through with the surgery or go with compassionate care. He told us to take our time on our decision but not too much time, since Bradley’s condition was worsening. When we made our decision we headed down to the NICU to let the doctor know what we decided. We then went to be by Bradley’s bedside. Both my husband and I agreed that Bradley had a very, very hard life in his short time here with us and even when he was in utero, he was suffering. We just couldn’t watch him suffer anymore. His little body was working so hard to stay with us and we felt the best choice was to let him go. To finally rest and be at peace.


Our older son, Zach, was able to meet him and we were finally a family of four.


Both my husband and I were able to hold Bradley for as long as we wanted and each time we held him, he opened his eyes for a brief moment which was the first time we ever saw him open his eyes. That moment was definitely bittersweet. The NICU nurses told us we could hold him for as long as we wanted, it was all up to us. Bradley’s nurses were all amazing and we truly felt they cared and showed empathy for us.


Finally after several hours, we were ready to let him go. We were brought to a smaller room just for us and I had my husband give the final “ok” to take him off his oxygen mask.


We held Bradley in our arms and watched him take his last breath on September 6th at 12:05pm.


His story did not end on September 6th. That was just the beginning. I will make sure he is never forgotten.


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