Baby’s Third Code

4/29, Thursday, Breen’s cousin Myra’s 4th birthday! erin, for some reason, writing today

As we drove downhill on Tuesday, Jon’s recent traumatic experience holding Breen still ricocheted around inside me. It hit my memories of Breen’s previous episodes of bradycardia. It bounced off my inner forehead and back down around against my toxic sopped adrenals. Into the future. Was the vagal really caused by moving him? Is that a thing now?

It physically sickens us, our child having these breathless episodes of breathlessness. It never gets easier. I believe that it is somehow worse every time.

I wondered out loud (again) with Jon’s dad what the long term effects might be from lack of oxygen to his smallest, tiniest, rapidly developing brain. No one knows. But maybe that’s like asking what the long term effects of my lack of circulating in my own home will be.

No thing exists outside of the now.

Later on Tuesday, Pops, Nora, and I arrived safe in SLC. Around a terrific dinner table of cherished family (and Jon’s cooking), phone rings.

801 number (but not my carefully labeled “NICU SLC” nor “NICU Extension”). Um. Mutter bad word. Step away from table.


It’s the social worker. Calling because Breen just had “another episode”. Um.

Jon come in here. (Nora insists on coming too.) “Nora, say Hi Ms B!” ‘Hi Ms B.’

Baby Breen stopped breathing again. His nurse quickly called a code blue. But they didn’t have to do chest compressions this time!

In fact, after he was stable, they figured they might as well extubate, “which he tolerated for about 10 or 15 minutes, but he was just working too hard”. So they reintubated with a new tube that should fit better. He’s doing just fine.

Wednesday okay. Thursday, okay. Conventional vent great. A little higher ostomy output. Jon makes a case to not increase calories today. Meets with music therapy. Nora and I walk, and I experience her as an entire entity. Nora poops in her potty!


When my Mom shared her cancer diagnosis with her three kids in 1996, she acknowledged, “This whole family has cancer now.” That moment’s cancer still haunts her three kids. Not the cells that eventually crowded her out of her insides, but the hospitals, the chemo, the surgeries. The wake, the funeral, the years her cancer has eaten since I was 16. The way the light hit the dining room through the rhododendron that day.

I blog not. I just write poems in my head and send them as prayers, aching in some primal way to have our pregnancy back. To have that Breenlet inside me still tonight, swimming and growing. To be feeling cranky that I still have to wait almost a month before laboring. Before delivering Nora’s brother to this earth.


This whole family (Breen, Jon, Nora, me, us, you) has NICU now. Has PPROM. Has prematurity. Has bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Has vagaling episodes, bradying, gaseous irritation, a split-apart intestine, a tricky surgery on the horizon.

A history of miracles.

Some nurses made out of angels.

A quilt made out of a sangha.

A lot of exquisite musicians surrounding.

2.08kg =4lb 9oz

And counting.



Parents of Breen and Nora.

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