two early gifts
Playing the Wii with daddy. Hauling dirt with toy trucks. Camping with the family. For twin toddler boys Carter and Logan Anderson this is what life is all about. But their cheerful smiles came only after overcoming a long journey of seemingly endless complications after their premature birth.
Born two weeks apart at 24 and 26 weeks and weighing between one and two pounds each, Carter and Logan had a long road ahead of them. Just one week after birth, each underwent a heart operation and suffered respiratory and other serious complications. While Logan had a bit of an easier ride, Carter came very close to death on a daily basis and miraculously pulled through every time.
treasuring the good moments
For Bree Anderson, mother of the two boys, getting through the difficult times meant focusing on the here and now. "Moments are what get you through the tough times," Bree says. "If at the end of the day you have more good moments than bad, well then, it's been a good day. If this moment, right now, is not so hot...don't worry, it's not long before there is a better one."
It's because of one moment that the Anderson family found a ray of hope in the storm. A few days after Carter's birth, a hospital staff member took the time to recommend CaringBridge to Bree and her husband Scott. "We had never heard of it until the hospital told us about it," Bree says. Through that single recommendation, the Andersons found a way to receive the encouragement they so desperately needed.
"We were able to keep people posted without the message getting skewed by word of mouth," Bree says. "We also loved the overwhelming support we received from family, friends, and sometimes from complete strangers on the guestbook page. Reading their messages always reminded us that so many people were pulling for us and praying for our little boys."
from a distance
Carter was flown to Minneapolis Children's Hospital from Sioux Falls, S.D. on two occasions - once to have 70 percent of his small intestine removed and once as a precaution in case of emergency surgery on the remaining portion of his small intestine. Faced with the news that the surgery would most likely be futile, but possibly Carter's only chance, Scott and Bree were forced to prepare for the worst - they planned his funeral overnight. Fortunately by morning, the X-rays had completely changed and medicines were working - no surgery was needed.
Scott and Bree took turns traveling to Minneapolis with Carter while the other stayed in Sioux Falls with Logan. Thanks to CaringBridge, they were easily able to update each other on the boys' progress in spite of the five-hour distance between them. CaringBridge also helped them know they were not alone in the health journey. "We were able to read the sites of other families we had met both in Sioux Falls and Minneapolis. It was a great way to inform people [about] what was going on."
CaringBridge also allowed Scott and Bree to keep the communication lines open between the two of them. "Some days, when the weight of the world was on us, we would ask, 'Did you see the message from so-and-so?' and that would almost always strike up a conversation about what was going on," Bree says. "We were able to really use CaringBridge as a support system."
As Carter and Logan began to improve and move toward a healthy weight, Bree and Scott looked forward to taking home their two bundles of joy for the first time. After undergoing one more surgery and weighing six pounds nearly three months after his birth, Logan was the first to arrive home in the small town of Minneota, Minn. Though he still required a heart monitor and oxygen, Logan was now in the comfort of his parents' loving arms.
Carter remained in the hospital nearly two months longer than his brother. After having one more surgery and showing continued improvement, Carter arrived home with a heart monitor and lots of meds. He remained on a strict feeding schedule for quite some time, but was on his way to becoming a healthy young boy.