Monday, June 9, 2014

Brenna's Story

 I have been avoiding this. I haven't wanted to post, because I have been scared to. I know that this post will bring back emotions and memories, good and bad, but I know I will have to do it and face it sometime--so why not now?

I'll start by giving you a little bit of a background on what has gone on in the last week.

On May 23rd, I made my move up to Salt lake--which wasn't too bad, Tyler was with me until the 26th. After he left, things got really hard and emotional. I hate being away from him-he is the one that keeps me calm. I stayed with my Aunt Melissa and her family (they were so kind and generous to offer me a place to stay. Thank you!). It was nice to be with family--they took good care of me! We even went on numerous walks, galloped around like horses, and rode scooters to try and put me into labor. No such luck! I was with them until that Wednesday, when I went to my doctors appointment-my mom came up to go with me, Tyler couldn't miss work. We got there, I was nervous--I wanted a plan, and I wanted Brenna OUT! My doctor could tell I was distraught. I was in tears, stressed out, in pain, and hating having to be away from Tyler. She checked me, I had improved, and she scheduled me for induction that night! We were so excited, I bawled for a few hours after my appointment. I couldn't believe it was actually happening!

That night (the 28th) we checked into the hospital--I was nervous, but more ready to meet our sweet girl. I had been contracting since Monday, and was still contracting pretty good on Wednesday, they gave me some medicine to help my body get ready for Brenna's arrival. Within minutes my contractions were so bad, I decided to get my epidural. It was a little piece of heaven! We TRIED to get some sleep, but didn't get much. I was exhausted, still in pain, and the contractions were getting worse. One of the doctors came in around 7am checked me, and told me they were going to break my water. They moved me to a different room, and checked me one last time. Brenna had moved, she was posterior... her hand was on top of her head, her face was trying to come out first. This was not ideal. There was a chance the cord could have gotten wrapped around her neck, and she wouldn't have been able to come out face first. They decided to wait to see if she would turn. Around 11am the doctor came back, and broke my water, he tried to move her hand. (He was a little shocked-Brenna had grabbed his finger, and sucked on it. He had to use his other fingers to pry her hand off of his finger. We knew then that she was going to be a very, VERY SWEET baby.) Her hand moved, but she still did not turn. From then on we played the waiting game. I was exhausted, frustrated, and in pain. Every doctor we talked to said something different. I was almost in tears, I just wanted Brenna here. FINALLY at 10 that night, they made the decision that Brenna probably wasn't going to turn. They took me for an emergency C-Section after 26 hours of labor.

Brenna McKensie was born at 10:42pm on May 29th. She weighed 6lbs 15oz and was 18.5 inches long. She was born with beautiful head of dark hair. She had Tyler's nose and eyes. I wasn't able to see her--she was having problems breathing, so they passed her through to the NICU. She was stable within minutes, and had all of her IV's and her lines in to help keep a valve in her heart open. Tyler was soon able to go back and see her. He took our parents back one by one, to see their new grandbaby. They sent me a couple of pictures through text (thank heavens for technology--I was dying to see my baby!) Finally, the moment came that I was able to see her for real. They wheeled her into my room in a large incubator, (about 10 feet long) they opened the side, and let me touch her hand and face. Time seemed to stop, there she was, my beautiful baby. I have never felt more love than I did in that moment. She was absolutely perfect to me--even battered and bruised after going through 26 excruciating hours of labor. She was a trooper, and the most beautiful little baby I had ever laid eyes on. I was brought to tears just looking at her. I reached for her hand, she turned her head and opened her eyes. I couldn't hold back any more. I sobbed... I blew her a kiss, and off she and Tyler went to Primary Children's Hospital.
She LOVES her Daddy!

Our pretty little baby, bruised from 26 hours of labor!

All of her DARK hair! 
Her TINY little toes--she got Tyler's feet! 
I was torn apart that I wasn't able to go with her. At about 4:30am I was finally moved into my room. I got a call from Tyler, saying that Brenna was doing great-they did some x-rays, and an echo-cardiogram. Tyler was even able to hold her for a few hours. I was so relieved! We both tried to get some sleep. I was so anxious to go see Brenna, but I wasn't able to until about 2:00 that afternoon. They had scheduled Brenna for a Cath surgery at 3. Tyler, my mom, and I rushed over to Primary Children's--and I was able to hold Brenna for the very first time!

I was only able to hold her for a half hour before they took her back to prep her for surgery. I kissed Brenna's head, told her I loved her an handed her back to the nurse. As we were leaving the room I blew her a kiss, and headed back to my room at the U of U hospital. We were anxiously waiting for a phone call telling us that she was done with her surgery. We sat there and waited, waited, and waited some more.

At about 10 that night we received a phone call telling us that the cath surgery didn't go as planned. They had accidentally punctured a hole in her pulmonary artery, which resulted in her losing a lot of blood, and blood pooling around her heart. They kept having to suction the blood from behind her heart. They tried to patch up the hole, and then decided that they had to take her into emergency surgery.

I remember sitting in my hospital room, with our parents there, all of us so shocked we couldn't speak. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks as I thought of our sweet baby, and what could possibly happen. Tyler got up and went over to Primary Children's to sign all of the consent forms. When he got back he sat at the side of my bed, put his face in his hands and sobbed. My heart was already beginning to break, but as I sat and watched my husband cry, it broke even more.

It was almost 4:30am before we received another phone call saying that Brenna was back in the Cardiac NICU. We immediately rushed over while Tyler was still on the phone with the surgeon. We learned that during the emergency surgery, they had decided to put her shunt in. We also learned that the hole in her pulmonary artery was still leaking, causing blood  and fluid to continue to pool around her heart. They did not realize it until it was almost too late. Her heart was working so hard to pump, that her liver and kidneys both shut down--she was without oxygen for over 4 minutes. They said that the chances of brain damage were high because of her not having oxygen. We were devastated... we didn't know what to do, or what to think... We got to her room, I immediately went to her bedside. She didn't look like herself-she was wrapped in so many wires, she had oxygen, and her incision was still open from surgery. I felt helpless. I would have traded her places in a heartbeat... I wanted so badly to take away her pain and suffering. We stood there for a while, when Tyler asked if he could give her a blessing. Tyler and our fathers laid their hands on her head, and gave her a priesthood blessing. In that blessing I remember Tyler saying that "your way home has been prepared". I remember thinking that meant we would take her home with us...

We got back to the hospital, our parents headed out, and we tried to get some sleep. We were exhausted. Around 8:30 that morning, Tyler's phone rang again. He jumped out of bed, put his shoes on, and told me he had to go over to see Brenna. He ran out of my hospital room. In that moment I knew something was wrong. There was a pit in my stomach. I felt so sick, I nearly passed out. I called for my nurse--she came running, and called over to Primary's to see what was going on. She passed me the phone and sat with me as I listened to the surgeon explain that Brenna's current condition had worsened over the last few hours, and she wasn't going to make it. My heart instantly shattered. I was shaking. It felt like a bad dream. I quickly hung up the phone, and called our parents. They arrived within minutes. I remember sitting on my bed when my parents arrived. My mom came over, sat down and hugged me as I cried. Tyler came back to get us. We all headed over to Primary Children's.  It seemed like the longest walk of my life. We arrived, and again I got up out of my wheelchair and went straight to her bedside. I grabbed her tiny little hand, and kissed it. I wanted to hold her... Heidi, Brenna's nurse, handed her to me- I sat in the rocking chair holding my precious little girl. The surgeon came in to talk to us. He said there were a couple of different options, one being additional surgery which could potentially prolong her life for a few hours. There were many risks with this option--especially in her already fragile condition. The second was to remove her IV's and wires and just let her be. Tyler and I felt that it wasn't fair to put her through any more. We requested they give her a last dose of pain medicine, to ensure she was comfortable. Tyler and our dad's again laid their hands on her head--this time to give her a name and a blessing. It was one of the most simple and beautiful blessings I have ever heard. I felt so much peace and love in that moment it was overwhelming. I will never forget that precious moment. I held Brenna in my arms as the nurses removed everything from her. I held her close, I wanted to be with her for as long as I could. Within 5 minutes of removing her IV's, Brenna passed away in my arms. It was at that moment when we knew we had made the right decision.

We sat there in silence, with swollen eyes, and tearstained cheeks. Heidi came to get Brenna so she could clean her up, dress her, and take some impressions of her hands and feet. She brought her back in one of the nightgowns I brought. She was wearing her BYU baby booties (in honor of Tyler, my dad, and my brother Josh), and was wrapped in a blanket. Heidi placed her in my arms, and I sobbed. My baby was gone. All I could do was hold her close and keep whispering that I loved her. We decided that it was time to say goodbye (or "see you in a little while"). One by one we passed Brenna around the room. It was such a humbling experience to see our parents with our sweet baby. We know how much they loved her and still love her. After everyone had the chance to love her one last time, we asked that they wait outside of Brenna's room so that we could have some time alone. I took Brenna in my arms--Tyler kneeled in front of the rocking chair, and offered up the most sincere and heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. He got up, sat next to me and told me it was time. I bawled. I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay there forever- I held her so tight, they had to pry her out of my arms. I kissed her one last time, and Heidi took her...

Within 36 hours our world had turned upside down. We never thought we would have to face this situation. We are still heartbroken... A piece of our family is missing, and will be until we are reunited in the next life. Although our separation is temporary, it doesn't take away all the pain. We know she is happy--She is now a Perfect Celestial Angel. She was too pure, and too special to live a life on this earth. All she needed to do was come here to gain a body. It is such a blessing and honor to me and Tyler, that we were able to create that body for her. We are so lucky we were able to have the time with her that we did. We are still amazed that such a perfect little girl chose us to be her parents. What a privilege it was to be able to be in her presence--it is not often that you hold an absolutely perfect being in your arms. She truly was our "miracle".

WE LOVE YOU ANGEL BABY BRENNA! You have touched the lives of so many, and I know you will continue to do so in Heaven. Thank you for allowing us to love you and hold you for the time that we could. We can't wait to see you again. Please watch over us, help us, and send us your love. You will always be daddy's "little miss" and my "sweet girl". We love and miss you more than you know.

Mom and Dad


"Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine."
-Disney's Dumbo


  1. Beautiful post, I am continually amazed at your love and strength...I love you!

  2. As I read this post tears filled my eyes. Thank you for sharing, you are a very, very strong woman. Brenna is VERY lucky to have you as a mommy! Thank you for sharing your testimony.

  3. So beautiful Kensie and Tyler. We love you guys and here for you! Hugs! Melissa and family

  4. So very sweet and touching. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing, it amazes me how close we are to heaven when we get to hold our babies for the last time, oh the lessons we learn from them in such a short time mu condolences to you and your family.