BC: Made especially for Mama Diane Birman Love, Gramma Lin
FC: My Brother Braden
1: Hi.!My name is Kira. I have an older brother named Braden. He is autistic. I'd like to tell you about him.
2: Braden was born prematurely. That means he was not fully developed. He weighed only 3 pounds 5 ounces.
3: All of the tubes and patches that you see in these pictures helped Braden's frail body work. | Braden James 4-29-06
4: Our parents were not expecting Braden to be born that day. The doctors needed to take the baby from Mama because he had stopped growing.
5: The doctor's did a C section to take Braden from her tummy. That means they did an operation and cut an opening in her belly to carefully take him out.
6: He was so small and struggling that the doctors in our town had a helicopter take him to a hospital in another city. This hospital had a special unit to take care of premature babies called a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU (pronounced Nick-U). Neonatal is a big word for babies.
7: Daddy drove to the new hospital an hour away from home to be with Braden. | At first, Mama had to stay behind in our home hospital because she was healing from the birth operation. She didn't get to be with Braden and Daddy for three days.
8: In the NICU, doctors worked to help Braden's weak lungs learn to breathe. In some of these photos you can see tubes connected to his nose for this job.
9: Mama and Daddy spent many days in the NICU with their new son. The nurses helped them learn to take care of such a tiny baby.
10: Braden began to get better. His lungs got stronger and he could breathe for himself. But he needed help to learn how to eat. The tube in his mouth in this picture is for feeding.
11: Kangaroo care | One therapy that Mama and Daddy did with Braden was called Kangaroo Care. The baby and parent have bare chests for this. In this treatment Braden felt the soft, warm skin and heard the comforting heartbeat and voices of his Mama and Daddy. It's like a baby kangaroo being in Mama's pouch. | BABY LOVE
12: After two weeks, Braden was well enough to come home. He could breathe and eat on his own. He weighed only 3 pounds 6 ounces. He was the smallest baby that had ever left the hospital. Daddy and Mama had to get a special car seat to hold such a little baby.
13: Braden had trouble eating. Food hurt his tummy. Our family worked hard to help him eat to grow. Even today he will only eat a few foods. He likes Eggo waffles, PopTarts, Pringles and some breads. He will eat apple bites without the peels. He will eat some frozen yogurt and ice cream...foods I like, too.
14: Braden drinks water and a special milk full of vitamins called Pediasure. My family encourages him to drink lots of Pediasure everyday because it is his most important food.
15: When he was 3, Braden began a special preschool. He is learning to work with others and use his words to say what he wants and needs. He gets to travel in a school bus. He takes a backpack with a snack and his milk.
16: Braden also has appointments with other teachers called therapists. They help him learn by playing with him. He is learning to share, take turns, and use his body in different spaces.
17: Braden has some unusual habits. He likes to carry a DVD case with him. He enjoys flipping the case in his hands. He also likes to hold his hand up to your mouth for Hand Kisses. Here he gets kisses from Mama.
18: Braden likes to spin and twirl to music. We call it his Dancing. He can spin as fast as a top. He doesn't get dizzy. He holds his arms in lovely positions and looks like a ballet star.
19: Braden is amazing on computers. He uses the mouse by himself and plays games on Preschool websites. He also likes to watch fast paced videos on YouTube. He likes to play games on home entertainment systems like the Nintendo Wii. Here he is playing a Race Car Arcade game.
20: Braden is very active in his play. Indoors, he likes cars and anything with a ball. Here he is trying his hand at table tennis.
21: Playgrounds are very exciting for Braden. He likes to try everything but is especially fond of slides.
22: Outdoor play is very popular with our family and Braden is happy to take part. Here he shows me how to play Ladder Ball.
23: Braden enjoys games (like Chase) and toys (like Jack-in-the-Box) that involve startling, surprising and scaring. He is quite a tease but a good sport and always laughs the loudest at his own fright. In this picture he is startling me with the hose.
24: We have a new baby sister. Braden wants to kiss and touch her whenever she is near. Mama is helping him learn to be gentle with Baby Avery.
25: My brother is special in many ways. But to me he will always be my Big Brother. I love him exactly as he is.