Baby Shower Cake for a VERY Special Little Boy!

I had the opportunity to make one of my life long friends, Stephanie, a cake for her baby shower this weekend. Although I was not able to attend, I heard the shower was a great success. I do not feel that this post would do justice without telling Stephanie and her family's story. The exert below is from the Gilchrist County Journal.

"Looking back over the course her life has taken in the last 9 months, Stephanie said the loss of one child, and the extended hospitalization of another is not what a mother expects when she finds out she is pregnant. As tears roll down her cheeks, Stephanie talks about her twin sons, born premature on June 17 via emergency c-section. She was just 24 and a half weeks along when her water broke while she was on bed rest at Shands Hospital causing her body to go into premature labor. Just before 9 a.m., Stephanie and her husband of three years, Jared Barron, welcomed Brody and Brayden into the world.

At birth, Brody weighed 1 pound, 9 ounces and measured 13 inches long. His brother Brayden weighed 1 pound, 13 ounces and measured 13 ½ inches long. “We were told when we went into the hospital the week before that there was only a 20 to 30 percent chance that either baby would make it,” Stephanie explained. “Our goal was to make it to 29 weeks, but when I went into the hospital I was already 2 ½ centimeters dilated and it just went from there.”

After the babies were born, Stephanie explained that she didn’t get to see them until 10 p.m. and by then they were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit hooked up to countless monitors with wires running all over their fragile bodies. “The doctors told us that Brayden’s lungs were sick and that he had a bad brain bleed,” Stephanie said. Knowing that his time was growing shorter, the Barrons were on their way to see their son a short time later, Stephanie remembers, when they got a call while in the elevator telling them that Brayden had passed away.

“When I got to hold him, he was already gone,” Stephanie said, through tears. “It was four weeks later before I got to hold Brody. I am so thankful I got to hold Brayden; otherwise, I wouldn’t have known what it felt like to hold one of my babies.” According to Stephanie, after Brayden passed away, Brody’s condition immediately improved. June 20 was a bittersweet day for the family as Stephanie was released from the hospital and began making her daily trips back and forth to Shands to sit with Brody.

Ten days later, on what Stephanie thought was one of Brody’s best days because he was eating well, doctors diagnosed him with Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). A gastrointestinal disease affecting premature infants, NEC involves infection and inflammation that causes destruction of the bowel. NEC is reportedly the most serious gastrointestinal disorder among premature babies, affecting just one in 2,000 to 4,000 births. Brody underwent two surgeries in which Dr. David Kays, a world renowned pediatric surgeon, removed two thirds of his intestines. "They told me he wasn't going to make it," Stephanie said. Dr. Kays was able to create an ostomy, which connected Brody's intestine to the surface of his body allowing for his bowels to drain and essentially saving his life. Brody also went through another surgery to reconnect his intestines. According to Stephanie, Brody also suffers from a IVH Level 4 brain bleed and doctors fear that there could be damage to his eyes, but for now they are concentrating on his intestines. Every morning Stephanie has been arriving at Shands at 11 a.m. and sits with Brody until 4:30 or 5:00 in the afternoon. Though she has only gotten to dress her baby in clothes one time for pictures, Stephanie remains hopeful that Brody's condition will improve and that he will get to come home at some point in October.

Though it is an extreme challenge for premature babies, Stephanie said that Brody will have to suck, swallow, breathe and hold his temperature at the same time before he is released from the hospital. Stephanie said that right now she is focusing on how thankful she is that she gets to see her son every day. Through everything, she has learned not to take one single day for granted.

A fund has been set up at Drummond Community Bank for people who would like to donate to Jared and Stephanie Barron. The name of the account is: Barron Family Benefit Account.

Good luck to little Brody, Stephanie and Jared!!