Baby Braden Petska

Monday, September 11, 2006

Our Journey

It seems like eons ago when I was pregnant with Braden.....needing help tying my shoes; yelling at Rich for walking too fast; "rolling" out of bed to pee for the 6th time; anticipating the day we would be blessed with a healthy baby. I loved being pregnant - I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! Although I completely underestimated the pain involved, labor was nothing compared to the heartache we encountered on the day the words, "Your baby's heart didn't fully develop," echoed in our minds. I will finally admit that it was the most gut wrenching pain I ever felt. I never knew I could shed that many tears for someone I had just met, yet loved more than anything else in this world. Time had literally stopped and nothing else mattered. The first few days were definitely difficult as we had to swallow the fact that our baby needed multiple surgeries to correct his heart defect; become very educated on everything involved with the heart and how Braden's was so different; meet people you never knew existed in the medical field; become the strongest you've ever been to fight for your baby.

After we decided there was nothing we could do but fight for our son, we decided to reach out to all of you through the blog (thank you again Katie for setting up this wonderful site). The blog was not only a way for us to document our daily thoughts and update everyone on Braden's progress, but it served as an even more special purpose. Your comments, e-mails, cards, caring letters, and knowing you read about us has in so many ways lifted our spirits and warmed our hearts. You have helped us get through the toughest of days, strengthening our spirits so we could endure another day of hospital chaos.

Braden wouldn't be where he is today if all of you didn't help pray for his strength and courage to fight daily. We were witnesses to the amazing power of prayer. I will never forget the beautiful morning of his surgery when the bright, rising sun warmed his face while the Chaplain was giving her blessing. Right then we knew that with God's guidance Braden would get through all of this. We have learned so much in these last few weeks: the value of patience; the true meaning of "for better or for worse"; the importance of close family and strong friendships; the generosity of strangers; the wisdom of the medical staff; the power of faith and prayer; the amount of love one's heart can really hold.

Through all of this, it's amazing to think that Rich and I are parents.....very proud parents of a beautiful little boy who is truly our miracle, the strongest person we know, and one who has a "heart of gold."

Thanks again for all you have done to help us. We are truly, truly blessed to be loved, thought of, and cared about by so many people.

Much love,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This posting gives me such a lump in my throat. I have such admiration for you's clear that you are partners, in every sense of the word. And that baby Braden...what a feisty little peanut you have there! I have no doubt that he will continue to amaze you each day. You three are the absolute definition of what it means to be a family. Lots of love and prayers to all of you.

Jenny (cousin Bonnie's daughter)

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful expression of your "journey." It has really just begun, Steph. Thank you for sharing. I am so proud of you and Rich, and so thankful for lttle Brayden's victory!! As a parent, I could only hope to be so strong and faithful as you and Rich have been. Love, Gala

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph- What a beautiful, heartfelt, personal writing and an appropriate day of nationwide reflection to share it on. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. It brought tears to my eyes and even more perspective to my life, as you, Rich and Braden have every day with your strength and courage. We will continue to think of you, read your daily updates and pray for all of you. Love, Amy Vosters & family

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I an a friend of Andy, Elaine, and Chris. I just wanted to say hi and let you know that everything will be fine. Eleven mos. ago on Oct. 18th 2005 my son Thomas had heart surgery. He is now a healthy, beautiful, energetic,bouncing baby boy. I can't believe it's almost been a year. Dr. Tweedle also did my sons surgery. I can imagine every hall that you walk, every room that you are in, every time you wash your hands, every question you ask, and every Dr.'s morning rounds. You are in the best possible place that you could be. I just wanted you to know that I understand. God Bless you and your family. Sincerely, Tammy Herner.

11:44 PM  
Blogger Auntie Sue said...

I've missed several days of checking in, and what awesome news to come back to! I have goosebumps reading your post, Steph. It makes me remember those indescribable feelings a new mother has, so much love for "someone you just met". I absolutely love the pic of your family, it's hearwarming to see your smiles again. What a joyous moment when you can all go home, and it doesn't sound too far off now.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a wonderful post to return to after my vacation! I'd been checking in each day and saying a some prayers, since Cara passed on the website. I had quite a bit of catching up to do since last Wednesday -- but, no surprise, I find Braden, you and Rich are doing so well and finally getting some real bonding time. You can never underestimate the healing power of your touch!

I'll keep checking in and saying prayers that you are blessed with a lifetime of memories as a family.

Jenny (Houston) Cook

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Melissa Braden said...

What an amazing entry! It really brought tears to my eyes. Isn't life full of wonderful moments? I can tell you that no matter how much you love Braden right this minute, you will amazed to realize that tomorrow you will love him more than today, and so on. It is an awesome feeling to look down at your son and realize he was made by you and the man you love, is it not? I am so glad you have felt these feelings. I look forward to sharing "mommy" moments with you. I am-of course- partial to little boys! Just wait till the real fun starts- eating boogies, playing in dirt, and touching worms! That is when you REALLY realize the glory of being a mom!! :)

So glad to hear the good news!!

Love, Melissa ( and family too! )

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go Steph, you just made me cry. It must be the hormones=:) I can't wait to really feel that feeling that you and Rich hold so dear to your hearts the first time that you laid eyes on that little boy. I love our little one so much already, and I can only feel it moving around inside of me. I can only imagine the overwhelmness of love that we will feel when we actually get to lay eyes on our little one. I am so happy that things are going so well, and that hopefully soon you will be able to take that little miracle baby home. There isn't a day that goes by that you three aren't in my thoughts and prayers.
Love ya's, Tricia
Rich - I wanted to add Go Packers, but they were so bad on Sunday that I stopped watching them!

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph, Rich, and Brayden,

What amazing news. I was so jealous to not be able to go with Jeff to see you and Brayden! We think about you all the time and look forward to catching up every day. Keep posting! Hope to see you all very soon!

Angie and Jeff

10:18 AM  

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