The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

Brantley’s Big Adventure

Hello, Brantley's Big Adventure
It’s an honor to share a guest post from my second cousin, Nicole. We wrote letters on occasion growing up, and it’s been inspiring to hear about her journey with her dear son, Brantley. She and I have both gained a lot from the kindness of strangers. 🙂 -Paige

On February 8, 2014 my life was changed when I found out I was 8 weeks pregnant. I had my first few ultrasounds and I loved every second of being able to hear a heartbeat, or to see my little angel doing its thing.

At 16 weeks a blood test revealed that something wasn’t right. A few days later, Kyle and I went in for an ultrasound and the tech said we were having a boy. She made a joke about how our little guy was hiding his back and he didn’t want to show us something important. She left the room and returned with a doctor, who examined me and said, “Your baby has a defect. Spina Bifida.” The doctor probably went on to explain a lot of different things that I can’t remember. When the doctor and nurse left the room, I turned to Kyle and cried. I cried for days.

I looked up everything I could on Spina Bifida, but everything I found scared me. After a MRI and another ultrasound I learned that my precious boy also had Hydrocephalus and Chiari Malformation II. It wasn’t until I found support groups on Facebook that I was able to come to terms with what all of this meant. In one support group, I explained that I was pregnant with a baby boy who Spina Bifida, and the responses were amazing. Within minutes I had almost 100 messages of support, stories and videos with encouragement, and pictures of beautiful babies, children, and adults with SB.

I faced a lot of pressure from family, doctors and others who felt it would be a better choice to terminate the pregnancy. Yet, I’d made up my mind that this wasn’t an option. Though I knew my baby boy would face many challenges, he was given to me for a reason. My purpose on this earth was to be his mom.

Brantley Ryan was born at 10:46am on September 9, 2014. I was able to see him for a minute before they wheeled him to the NICU. He had his back closure and shunt surgeries a day later and he did amazing. Brantley is incredible.

Brantley is now 17 months old. He’s had intense physical therapy once or twice a week since he was 5 weeks old. He is a paraplegic, but he moves his lower extremities occasionally and has full ability of his upper body. Every single day he finds a new way to make me proud! I am forever thankful to those strangers who became my main source of love and support throughout my pregnancy and to this day.

You can learn more about Brantley’s journey at

4 comments on “Brantley’s Big Adventure

  1. Darlene
    February 15, 2016

    How very special. I am sure Brantley with give Nicole many years of enjoyment. We can’t say enough about the kindness of strangers!

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      February 15, 2016

      I got a chance to meet him last summer and he’s so adorable and sweet! 🙂
      Thank you, Darlene.

  2. joannerambling
    February 15, 2016

    Thank you for this wonderful post

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      February 16, 2016

      I’ve been hoping to be able to share Nicole’s story. I love these photos too! 🙂
      Thank you, Joanne!

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2016 by in Happiness, Inspiration, Writing and tagged , , , , .

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