Sunday, September 5, 2010

Growth and Grief

This week has continued to be full of blessings, joys, and challenges.

On Monday, we spent the day in Richmond. We visited with our good friends and then headed over to the Children’s Museum. It was our first visit and was so much fun! We stayed until nearly closing time. Both children were able to explore and learn in such a fun and unique environment.

On Tuesday, our foster daughter had an appointment to check her hearing. I thought this test would be a piece of cake compared to the testing she had last week. However, she wanted nothing to do with the room or the sounds. In fact, I started to think it was because of me because she tends to have a stronger bond with Eric. We were able to get her in for a few hours later with Eric to try again. Unfortunately, it was not me because she flipped out the same way for Eric. The next step is to sedate her, which does not make me happy, but it’s the only way to know what type of hearing loss she has and what we can do about it.

Wednesday, I took her to see the allergy doctor. While in the waiting room, she walked about 10 steps all by herself unassisted. When she got to the counter, she reached for the keyboard and began to push the buttons. I was elated and so proud of her. Each and every day, she is making progress and strengthening those little legs.  She did not care for the allergy doctor either, but this was not to be overshadowed by her walking!

Thursday, she had her first developmental therapy appointment. She did very well but she prefers to snuggle with me, which doesn’t bother me one bit! She plays very well with Jeremy, who is still learning to share his toys. He helps pick up her bottle when she drops it and will occasionally hand her toys. It is so heart-warming to watch them interact. I know that once she starts walking and eating, it will be hard for her not to want to be just like Jeremy and do all the things that he does. She can climb a whole flight of stairs and has learned from Jeremy how to throw toys down a flight of stairs, but it’s hard to discipline her when her face lights up and she laughs the most adorable laugh I have ever heard!

I was asked to speak at the Eastern Virginia Perinatal Council Thursday afternoon and share Savannah’s story. I was honored to do it and was hopeful that Hurricane Earl would not interfere. I was able to talk about Savannah and share her life and her treasures with a room full of people and I am sure that no one in that room will ever be the same after hearing her story. I know that Savannah changed their lives because she speaks through me. I am simply the messenger. As a gift, they gave me a beautiful butterfly wind chime which will look awesome on Savannah’s Tree ~ the Weeping Cherry Tree that we planted in her memory this past Easter, the same weekend we moved into our new house.  It's not exactly weeping with the large growths at the top, but it looks so pretty with pink flowers in the springtime.

The speech and reliving what happened brought up many feelings that I was surprised I still felt. If there was anything I could change about what happened with everything, I would have changed the things that I held back from saying at the Patient Care Conference with the doctors at Langley. If I could go back, I would look that doctor in the eye and say:

How dare you sit here, not look me in the eye, and let all of these other knucklehead doctors speak for you and ramble on about nothing that had to do with my questions. All I needed to hear you say is that you were sorry, you made a mistake in judgment, and you will never do it again. How can you tell me that you would perform an elective c-section for a woman who simply did not want to deal with incontinence issues but it would be a bad decision medically to induce me with all of my legitimate medical concerns and history at 39 weeks? Why did you make the additional risk for C-section be such a huge deal when it meant that my baby would have been born alive? I really hope that you enjoyed your time with your husband that night when I called 30 times in panic and terror when I knew that something was wrong with my baby and that stupid midwife wouldn’t call you at home. I hope she feels very powerful as the gatekeeper of the labor and delivery department instead of asking me to come in and get checked. And for you to say that you supported her decision? I really hope that that dinner at Outback or the Olive Garden that night was really worth it because it came at the price of my daughter’s life. I know you said that you did nothing wrong but I hope that when you are in the privacy of your own home, you think about Savannah and about how I will forever visit my daughter in a cemetery. I hope each time you look at your twins that you think of me, my empty arms, and my daughter in Heaven. All I ever needed to hear was that you would never make that kind of mistake again and when a mom is in panic, you take her seriously. That’s it. That’s all I got!

It has been a long time since I have been so angry, probably months! I went to sleep last night listening to my Anger & Forgiveness Meditation and it calmed me to sleep. I have had many good days lately ~ weeks of them. But for some reason as I was trying to fall asleep in bed, I began re-living those days. I thought about everything I said and how I tried to be polite and respectful to the doctors and hospital administrators. That was my one opportunity when I could have changed the lives of each of those doctors in that room and I blew it. I let them talk over me and ramble on and on about nothing, trying to confuse me. Nothing got accomplished at that meeting and I understand that they were limited legally on what they could say. I hope that somewhere, somehow, in some little tiny way, each of them will be a little bit different in how they practice medicine. I realize that is a long shot, but I can hope. I have often thought about having another Patient Care Conference, but I just don’t think it would do any good. After getting letters from my attorney, I don’t think I would ever hear any of the things from anyone at that hospital I am looking for. I just hope and pray that no one will ever have to go through what we went through, not at that hospital or any hospital.

Friday, we waited out the Hurricane, which luckily turned east shortly before coming anywhere close to landfall, so all we received was some rain and a little wind. Saturday, we visited Water Country again. We wanted to squeeze in one last visit before it closes for the summer. The kids had fun and were worn out and ready for baths and bed by the time we got home.

Today’s reading at Church provided much opportunity for reflection. The second reading, particularly, was about a man named Paul who had a slave named Onesimus. He was freed and sent back to Paul, but instead of continuing to treat him as a slave, he welcomed him back as a brother. Then, the Gospel of Luke was very influential as well. “"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” I am not one to quote Bible verses and pretend to know what I am talking about or spread some crazy message, but the homily that followed made these readings very thought-provoking to me, which is rather unusual.  Faith is something that is private that my family and I share, but we never push it on anyone else.

We have been blessed with so much family and many dear friends in our lives. In fact, we were in shock of how many people rallied around us with love, support, and prayer after we lost our daughter, Savannah. But, we are not without our share of disappointment and drama, for lack of better terms. Family and friends are such a blessing, but unfortunately, there are times when they become the object of much pain and sorrow. This is such the case with some family of my husband’s. It got to the point where we, as a family, made the decision to love unconditionally from afar, but not speak or communicate at all with them. It became a very toxic situation and my husband and I had to make a decision to protect our children. It is sad that our children will never know that side of the family, but I trust that our daughter, Savannah, is watching over them and praying for them, as she is us. It has become evident to me that these certain family members have discovered this blog. The purpose of this blog is to help others and to deal with my own grief and pain. I have been very open in sharing my feelings and some of the happenings in our family. However, having a relationship with us and with our family is a privilege and not a right.

While none of us has hate in our heart, we do still have anger and hurt. For this reason, we only surround ourselves with good people who wish us well, not harm. We continue to raise our children and love each other and our families and friends as we have been taught to love and we try every day to work on not being judgmental. We are not perfect and have never claimed to be. But we work hard every day to do the right thing for God, for our family and friends, to lead by example to our children, and to give back to the community to which we belong. We try to be forgiving and we are, but we will never forget and therefore some people will always remain part of our past and not our future.

We look forward to the weeks ahead ~ apple picking, hayrides and pumpkin patches, cornfield mazes, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and a very special Birthday Party. We are planning some trips in the coming months. I am very excited to meet Danny Gokey. Some of you many remember him from Season 8 of American Idol, but sadly, that was around the end of my pregnancy with Savannah and I didn’t watch it at all. He lost his wife in surgery after a life-long battle with a heart condition. To honor her and fulfill his promise to her, he tried out for American Idol just weeks after her death. I found him on CMT. He has a song that really has affected me. The lyrics are on the right hand side of the blog, but the video is so powerful. It is a tear-jerker for sure, but it came on the TV randomly one day when I had CMT on for background noise. It came at a time when I really needed to cry and cry long and hard. I do not for one second believe that it was a coincidence. We have been emailing back and forth about how his music has touched my heart and my life. I encourage you to watch the video and you will see what I mean.

Danny Gokey ~ I Will Not Say Goodbye

Our foster daughter LOVES music and loves to dance!  I would love to get her into some type of music therapy one day.  For now, we just enjoy her each and every day and look forward to the day when she officially becomes part of our family, although she became family the day she came through our front door.

Until next time, may you enjoy your blessings and open your heart for whatever God has in store!

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