I’ve been debating whether or not to post this entry about Jacob’s MRI.  I don’t know if I’m starting to sound like a broken record to some people and if all my talking about our issues with Jacob has turned some people off.  But then I realized (no offense) but I’m not writing this for you.  I’m writing this for me and my kids, because some day they’ll be old enough to read this and hopefully it will spark some long forgotten memory or they will be able to see how much I did love them and how hard Jared and I worked and prayed for them.  I hope it will never come to them having to read this to figure out that we love them, but who knows what goes through teenage minds 🙂 .

Something else that ran through my mind as I was getting up the courage to post this was that our life is not all fun and laughing and cute stories.  Granted, those are the things that I want my children to remember and not the times that I had to swat their rears or put them in time out, but our life as a family is made up of good, great, magnificent and even miraculous time as well as bad, sad, scary and depressing ones.  The unfortunate bumps in the road make it possible to love and appreciate everything else on a much deeper level.  It’s times like Jacob’s MRI that test the bonds that connect us as a family and we come out the other side realizing how much we really do love each other and how strong we are.

As Jacob and I were leaving the house Emma came up to me to give us hugs and kisses good-bye.  She looked at me, with worry in her eyes, and asked, “Are you going to take Jacob to the doctor’s now?”  I told her I was and that today they were going to take a picture of his brain.  It took her a second to digest that and then asked, “Will they cut it out so they can get a good picture?”  It suddenly dawned on me how the kids must be viewing this appointment.  We have been telling them for a week what we were going to do, explaining that the doctors needed to take a picture of his brain to make sure that everything was working right.  It just never occurred to me that they would be thinking anything different from what I was thinking.  Boy was I ever wrong!

Jared and I had to stifle a laugh and then explained a little better about how they were going to take the picture.  And NO they would not have to cut his brain out to do that!

I had been a crazy morning leading up to this appointment.  There were some things that were required of us before the MRI or we would have to reschedule.  1) He wasn’t allowed to eat or drink four hours prior to his appointment.  Since his appointment was at 1:15 pm that meant that Jacob couldn’t eat anything after 9:15 am.  At least he got breakfast!  But, or course, today was the first day that he decided he wanted to eat every five minutes.  He kept bringing me treats from the pantry and I had to keep taking them away and telling him no.  I tried my hardest to play with him and keep him preoccupied, but it didn’t really work.  2) He couldn’t have any type of cold or congestion.  He had to remain perfectly still during the scan so he couldn’t be sniffling or coughing or that would mess up the images.  3) He had to be sleep deprived!  Now, for those of you who have had or do have a two-year old child, you know how much they were asking of Jacob.  I was dreading this appointment.


I don’t know why it always amazes me how well-behaved Jacob is.  I was expecting a complete terror, and I wouldn’t have even been upset if that was the case, but instead I got this little man who kept falling asleep during the car ride who just looked at me and smiled when I would start yelling his name or singing really loud or even roll down his window to let the cold air shock him awake.  Never once did he cry at me or yell back.  I think it almost made what I had to do a little harder.

I made sure to bring his blanket and his sock monkey (which he adores) with us.  He sat in the waiting room and smiled and flirted with the women who were there.  I didn’t see another child during our wait but there were plenty of older people.  They all loved him, and how can you not!!!

Once we were called back, they gave him a shot of hemparin (which he did not like, but what kid would) and told me to just rest with him until he falls asleep.  The room that they put us in was all equipped for a child.  There was a rocking chair, a pack-n-play, toys, and a mini stretcher to carry him out in.  They turned the lights down and gave him about 20 minutes to fall into a deep sleep.  He didn’t even need half of that.  With his lack of sleep, combined with the crying from the shot, he was all too eager to close his eyes.  I held him in my arms while he adjusted himself so that he was comfortable, turned on some piano music on my iPhone and just waited for the drugs to take him.  It was only about two minutes before he was out, but as he got deeper and deeper into his sleep he would stop breathing periodically.  It was only for about 10 seconds at a time, but that 10 seconds seemed like an eternity.  Unfortunately, hypotonia encompasses all their muscles and our lungs are just that- one big muscle.  He is prone to have breathing issues (which explains a lot of what happened in the hospital at his birth) but combined with the hemparin (a sedative) it caused his muscles to really relax, almost to a fault.

When it came time to take the scans, the nurse hooked him up to some machines to monitor his heart.  I was allowed to stay in the room with him, but I couldn’t hold his hand or even be too close to the machine because it is basically one huge magnet and nothing could go near it if there was even a small amount of metal on it.  We had to take Jacob’s jacket off because it had a zipper, but since I was wearing jeans (and didn’t bring a change of clothes 🙂 ) I had to stay far away.  My eyes were glued to the machines the entire 10 or 15 minutes that we were in the room just to make sure that his breathing got worse and there was a problem.

I got to carry him into the room and situate him on the little table.  They secured his head in what looked like a halo, they muffled his ears because that machine is crazy loud, and wrapped his little body in a warm blanket.  The table adjusted itself until Jacob was inside the machine.  He almost disappeared from view.  All I could see from my seat was his shoes.

I do have to say that being in the room while everything was happening was much more comforting than having to wait in a waiting room or somewhere else.  I’m just thinking back to the last time we had to put Jacob under like this, and Jared and I had to both wait out in the lobby.  That was not a fun experience.

When the scan was done I carried Jacob back to the room where we had to wait for him to wake up.  They needed to see his eyes open and make sure that he could swallow before they would let us go.  He woke for about a minute, just long enough to swallow the juice that I was squirting down his throat and give me a quick smile.

They told me some things to expect for the next 24 hours but that each person reacts differently to sedation so to expect a wide range of emotions and behaviors.  They said the most common was that he would act like a drunk.  He would be very unstable and wabbly so to not leave him alone without supervision.  They said that he could be an angry drunk where nothing you do will be good enough, he’ll just be cranky.  Some sleep it off the rest of the day and other are awake.

We were fortunate enough to get the unstable drunk.  Jacob slept until about 5:30 pm and then woke and was ready to eat.  And eat he did!!!  He was incredibly wobbly, but you could see that he was trying really hard.  We had to carry him around the rest of the day until he was ready for bed, which wasn’t really that late.  I thought that with all the sleep he had gotten so late in the day that he would be up all night, but he was ready for bed at the regular time.

We had to explain to the kids that they needed to watch and protect Jacob tonight because he was given some drugs that made his body really tired.  You should have heard the intake of breath from Benjamin as it sunk in that Jacob was getting “drugs”.  They had D.A.R.E. just a couple of months ago and we had talked about it at home quite a bit.  I could have kicked myself for not using a better word, but I just rephrased the statement and he sighed in relief.  “Oh, good.  I was really nervous that someone was giving Jacob bad drugs.”

I love my children!!!



Filed under Brianna, Early Childhood Intervention, Jacob

4 responses to “M.R.I.

  1. Linsie Limb Draper

    You are a strong person for Heavenly Father to bless you with such a special boy! I look up to you for how well you handle this.

    • Brianna Johnson

      Thank you for that. I don’t feel very stong sometimes, but I am glad that I’m documenting all this. Someday, and it may not be for years, but we’ll all be able to look back at these days and see how much we learned about our family and about ourselves.

  2. Pingback: Neurologist Follow-up |

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