S: brayden's first year 2010-2011
BC: To my B This book is for you. I love you with my whole heart. I am so blessed to have you, my miracle baby! Love Mommy
FC: brayden james | my first year
1: Once upon a time, there was a beautiful baby boy who was welcomed into the world a little too early by two loving parents. This is the journey of his first year...
2: miracle in the making.... | It's a BOY
3: watermelon...walks outside...the hottest summer... ice tea...vegetables...little kicks...tiny blue clothes...picking your name...strawberry ice cream...maternity clothes...dreaming of you
4: brayden james helvey | august 27 2010 | 2lbs 14oz | Surprise Arrival
5: melrose park il | 15 3/4" | 6:23pm | gottlieb memorial hospital | 12 weeks early | While in Michigan on vacation we woke up and realized that something wasn't quite right that day. After noticing some bleeding we drove the 3 hours home and learned that we were in labor, 12 weeks early. We did everything we could to keep you in longer but you had other plans that day. Six short hours after being admitted to the hospital you made your arrival. It was a terrifying day and also quite magical, we met you! You were immediately transfered to Loyola's NICU.
6: Loyola University Medical Center - Maywood IL
7: "The moment you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, you wonder how could such a tiny bundle create so much emotion within you. And you wonder if it's possible that you've actually brought such a tiny, beautiful being into this world." | 2 days old-first time we got to hold you
8: Kangaroo Care | Grow and thrive little one | 4 days old
9: tiny miracle
11: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray for this preemie God gave me to keep. So very little, so very small, I pray you make it through it all. Each day I hold you skin to skin, I hope you feel my love within. You are so brave, you are so strong, You came early because you belong. Angels watch over him all through the night, God keep him safe and help him fight.....
12: During your time in the NICU you endured many set backs. This was truly a scary time but you proved to be a strong little fighter. Sept 3rd (1 wk old): You got bacterial e coli meningitis and sepsis. Your head ultra sound revealed a grade III/IV brain bleed (IVH). After blood transfusions, platelet transfusions, blood pressure meds, antibiotics, seizure meds, breathing tube, lumbard puncture, sedation, pain meds, and lots of praying you started to come out of your illness and started acting like your old self again. We were so grateful! Oct 15th (7 wks old): After being off antibiotics for only 2 weeks our world was turned upside down, once again, when your meningitis returned. You showed little signs of onset and got sick quickly. The treatments began all over again., almost like deja vu. Once again you fought hard and we stayed by your side the whole time. After 7 days you started to show signs of improvement and only went up from there. You went through so much in your first 12 weeks of life. You came very close to death a few times and like the littler fighter you are, you pulled through all the obstacles that came your way, our true miracle! You developed hydrocephalus as a result of the bleeds and meningitis. No one can predict what the future holds but we are here for you to help with whatever should come up. We are so proud of you. | Our little fighter
13: 7 weeks | 1 week
14: First bath | First bottle | First time out the incubator-big boy bed | First little outfit
15: First time no tape | First tummy time | First big boy bottle | First blanky
16: You have such a big personality. We loved watching you blossom. Each day you got bigger and stronger. We are so proud to be your parents.
17: Growing & Changing
18: "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."
19: We love our son | "Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad."
20: Heading Home | We had been dreaming of the day we could take you home. After 12 weeks you were finally ready. It was so emotional walking out with you in your car seat. Our family was finally together, we could have you home. We rarely put you down for the first few days, we were so happy! | 84 days in the NICU | Nov 19th
21: Birth announcement
22: Home at last
23: Having you home was such a blessing, we had prayed for the day we could snuggle you whenever we wanted. We had many sleepless nights and trial and errors as parents but we soon settled into a routine. You were such a good baby, sleeping 3-5 hour stretches and eating like a champ! You had lots of visitors and only ventured out for Dr appointments. You loved being held, you could sleep for hours, and many times that's exactly what you did. We developed such a new love for you, it only grew stronger each day. | 3 months old you love: soothie paci b&w picture book play mat sleep sheep ocean sound bottles being held sleeping on mom and dad
24: Baby's First Christmas
26: Dec 23rd: You started getting sick again. After 10 hours of vomiting, diarrhea, and inconsolable crying we took you to the ER and learned you had meningitis for the 3rd time. We were heartbroken and so scared. You were transferred to Children's Memorial Hospital in Milwaukee WI. We had you home for 5 short weeks and now we were headed back to the hospital. After an ambulance ride you were checked into the Pediatric ICU where you began to get antibiotics and treatment immediately. We stayed by your side the whole time, spending our nights in the room with you. You had many visitors and a world of people praying for you. You spent your first Christmas in the hospital and Santa made sure to visit, even leaving you a little gift. The Dr's call you a 1 in a million baby. They have never seen this reoccur so many times. We all worked hard in hopes that this never happens again. | Back to the hospital...
28: Surgery #1 Dec 27th: You began to have heart rate and respiratory distress, bradycardia and apnea. Your Neurosurgeon decided that the pressure from the hydrocephalus had started to effect you negatively. A reservoir drain was placed in your head to relieve some pressure. You did so well, such a strong little boy! The Dr's could now extract fluid as needed to make sure you felt better. | Surgery #2 Jan 4: Your MRI revealed ventriculitis (pockets of infection/debris in your ventricles). The Dr's did a Craniotomy, they went in through your previous incision and into the brain fluid directly to suck out all the bad stuff. The goal was to get rid of all the bacteria once and for all. An external drain tube (EVD) was placed in allowing them drain fluid as needed. Towards the end of surgery your brain started to collapse on the left side and the Dr quickly re-inflated it. | Braving the operating room
29: Surgery #3 Jan 6: Two CT scans after your second surgery showed fluid build up on the outside of your brain from it collapsing. Dr's put in another external drain to extract the fluid with the hopes to re-inflate the brain up to its proper position. You did so well, what a brave little boy you are! After 5 days the drain worked and your brain returned to normal, we were so happy to receive such good news. The drain was taken out at your bedside. | "Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." | Brayden means: Brave
30: "Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is." - Gary Zukav | Healing...
31: Jan 13th: You were transfered out of the ICU onto the Nuero floor to finish healing and receive lots of attention from the rehab teams. You had daily visits from speech to work on bottle feeding, occupational therapy/ physical therapy to work on developmental tools, and your team of Dr's to evaluate you. We stayed in the room with you and tried to make it as much like home as possible. You surprised everyone with your amazing progress. Jan 26th: You were finally ready to head back home. You came home with your PICC line (IV) in and with the help of an in home nurse we gave you the remaining weeks of your antibiotic ourselves.
32: Back to the O.R. | Surgery #4 Feb 3rd: After being home a week we noticed your head started to have fluid build up again. You began showing signs of hydrocephalus; throwing up, irritable, sleepy, seizures. We made an appointment to see your nuero surgeon and they decided to operate right away to relieve some pressure. You had your 4th surgery and your EVD was put back in. Once some fluid was drained you were much happier and getting back to your old self. | "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." Khalil Gibran
33: Surgery #5 Feb 7th: After an MRI and Dr's determined your infection was completely clear we decided to have a permanent drain put in, VP Shunt. This would allow your Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) to drain on it's own when under pressure with the help of the shunt. You did wonderfully. We are so hopeful this is the end of your surgery days. Your strength is amazing little one! Your shunt is permanent and is designed to grow with you. The tube to your abdomen is coiled to allow it to extend as you get taller.
34: Superbowl Sunday in the hospital
35: Packers WIN!!
36: Home at Last ...again! | 5 months old you love: gum drop paci sleep sheep play mat bottles guitar froggie bouncy chair light up smail baths
37: It was so good to be home again. We settled in right away and began life as normal. You were still healing from surgery and got lots of rest. You tried your first formula bottle and loved it. You went to PT/OT twice a week to help you work on developmental tools. You love to play and move on your play mat. You discovered you can roll on your side and love to move from side to side. You rolled over for the first time from tummy to back during physical therapy (2-21). We had many Dr follow ups and each time we left with good news and big smiles. We are so hopeful this is the end of your hospital days.
38: Our handsome little man!
39: Whooo's the cutest?
40: Valentine's Day | "All you need is love"
41: “Love is what makes you smile even when you're tired.” | First Smiles
42: Life in iPhone pics
44: Rub a dub dub... | Brayden's in the tub!
45: You love bath time!! Every time we put you in the water we got some wee-wee water works. Typical boy!
47: Tummy Time! | We did tummy time every day to help with head control. You aren't a fan of being on your tummy and always try to get on your back. You quickly perfected rolling over. Slowly but surely your making great improvements.
48: Our family photo day. We had so much fun being silly with you. You are so photogenic, just like mom! You were so easy to work with. Our little natural model. You looked so handsome in your jeans and hats. We got some amazing shots that we framed! We got you to stay still by giving you frequent paci breaks and then pull it out and shoot!!
49: Photos by Danielle Main 3.5.11
50: Things you love: NUK paci smiling light up snail comfy sleepers physical therapy laughing play mat bouncy chair | 6 Months Old | 12.5 lbs 24 in
51: 7 Months Old | Things you love: paci PT/OT spiky ball laughing play time bottles Sophie giraffe big blue ball mom lots of 'talking' | 14.5 lbs 25 in
52: Bella & B
54: Play Time!
55: learning and exploring
56: Life in iPhone pics
58: April 17th | We rallied together for months to raise money and recruit walkers for the March of Dimes annual walk, March for Babies. We created our team, The Brayden Bunch, to celebrate you and the journey you have been through. We made t-shirts for our team to wear the day of the walk. For you we made an extra special little shirt to wear and show your preemie pride! We set a goal to raise $2000 and with the help of friends and family we exceeded that goal and raised $5400 to help all babies be born healthy. We were asked to be the Ambassador Family for the walk and were so honored. We spoke to the crowd about you and your amazing journey, it was very emotional. The walk was led by us and our team. It was an amazing day to celebrate you! | March for Babies
59: The Brayden Bunch
60: We had a wonderful Easter weekend with our families. Saturday you had your first tea downtown Chicago at The Drake. You were so well behaved. Sunday we headed to grandma and grandpa Helvey's for brunch and easter egg fun. You got lots of Easter basket goodies!
61: Happy Easter
62: Months Old | Things you love: Sophie giraffe * play mat bottles * paci PT/OT * play snail music * tickles rattles * walks outside naps on mom & dad | 8 | 16 lbs 3 oz 26 in
63: Months Old | 9 | 18 lbs 28.25 in | Things you love: sitting on laps * play mat trying new foods bananas * fresh air light up stacker * paci PT/OT * pool time music * rattles
64: You loved physical and occupational therapy. You saw Kim (PT) and Kristie (OT) every week and you loved your time with them. They helped teach you many developemental skills. They always said what a cutie you are and how fun you are to work with!
65: PT/ OT
66: "A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take." Cardinal Mermillod | 5.8.11
67: Mother's Day
68: 1st Foods | May 2011
69: We started working with a Speech Therapist to help you learn to eat solid foods. Your first food was rice cereal and you didn't really like it. We loved watching you try new foods, such adorable faces. You are a fast learner! Foods you enjoyed were oatmeal, fruits, and bananas were a favorite. We gave you Gerber foods as well as homemade baby food which was easy and you loved it! We practiced every day until you were eating two meals a day like a big boy!
70: MEMORIAL DAY!
72: Life in iPhone pics
74: I | LOVE | YOU | Father's Day
75: D | A | D | 6-19-11
76: FAMILY PHOTO DAY
77: Photos by Danielle Main 7.2.11
78: 19 lbs 2 oz 29 in | 10 | Months Old | Things you love: morning naps in our bed paci * anything with bananas being outside * play mat homemade baby foods big boy car seat baths with mom
79: 20 lbs 6 oz 29.25 in | 11 | Months Old | Things you love: play mat * paci * mango walks outside * bottles playing in the lake with dad bath time * naps your music * talking nakey time * rattles sweet potatoes
81: My first 4th at Wonder Lake
82: Grandchild spoiled here
83: Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation. ~Lois Wyse
86: Life in iPhone Pics
89: hard on my | Working | head control
91: our cuddle monkey
92: A day at the park
94: Happy 1st Birthday | 22 lb 7 oz 30.5 in