Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's Official ...

My faithful binder,that has seen me through NICU days,heart surgery prep days and chemo days,has now become our school days binder.I cleaned out all the papers from our almost 9 months of chemo.That is the stack beside the notebook ...every single lab report from every single day spent inpatient.Not sure why I have hung onto them but I did and I will.I'll pack them away with the rest of her medical history forms.Reminders of the road that has led to this day.Reminders of Zoey's remarkable will to survive.Reminders of a little life that came to teach us all about courage,determination and forgiveness.A life brimming with hope and possibilities.

Yesterday we had our final IEP meeting.A round table of 14 people.Yep,I was a bit over whelmed as I walked into the room,casually,with hot chocolate in hand and 10 minutes late,as I couldn't find the building on campus.Luckily,a few familiar faces adorned the table.Mainly our friends,Christi and Patty,Zoey's PT and Vision therapists.Zoey's OT and speech therapist couldn't make it.School and other IEP's to attend.But could you imagine... 2 more.In my mind,all I could think of was how incredible it was,all these people who came together with one goal and that was to officially usher Zoey out of Early Start and into the school system.

The meeting went fairly smooth.Always a bit of underlying tension when you have strong,opinionated,highly qualified, women, all in one confined space.I think,in the end,we all were in agreement with the layout of "Zoey's plan".Zoey qualifies for 5 days a week,2 and 3/4 hours per day.In her week there will be OT,vision,and speech therapy within the classroom.We have opted out of PT.Zoey's stamina is still quite low and we have decided that having her PT therapy,out of school,in an afternoon,after a nap,will best suit her.We don't want her expending so much physical energy that she is not able to participate in the cognitive and social side of school.Zoey will have a one on one aid.There are 8 children in the classroom.One amazing teacher and two aids.So the the ratio is 8 children to 2 aides,the main teacher and then Zoey and her aid.Safety in Zoey's environment is my number one concern.With Zoey rolling and scooting everywhere,we need to ensure that someone is attending to her at all times,as all the other children are walking.Actually, there is one little girl with CP,in a wheelchair but we still need to watch out for rolling wheels in that case.

Zoey's first day will be April the 5th.Hard to believe we have finally reached this day.What an incredible blessing.I cried.Several times in fact.Filled with immense joy that our little fighter girl has arrived in this moment.She is going to blossom.You should have seen her at that table.Laughing and signing funny,when conversations were accompanied with laughter.Smiling at everyone.Signing words that were in side conversations.Wanting to be held and hug ... everyone.2 hours,my girl sat there,happy,content and engaging.Imagine what a room full of energetic children will do for her.The other person in attendance was her care coordinator with Early Start,Lisa.Lisa and our family have had a long time relationship.Even before Zoey's birth, as she was our coordinator for Joe when he was diagnosed with severe apraxia.She has been a phenomenal source of support over the last several years.As we were leaving she had me sign a sheet that stated that we now will be provided with Zoey's diapers ... at no cost.By late yesterday afternoon I had already spoken to the company that provides the diapers and by the end of next week we should receive our first shipment.How great is that?This whole process,transitioning from ES to the school system has been extremely effortless.No fighting for services.No head butting.None of the headaches that I have often heard can go along with this process.Instead,yesterday,as I walked off of Zoey's new campus, I smiled.A big,content smile.And as I smiled, I moved with confidence across the street to our car,knowing that my little love is about to embark on yet another chapter of her miraculous life.This time, this chapter,holds the good stuff.The happy,carefree good stuff.New beginnings for our soon to be birthday butterfly girl.Speaking of which ...

Her birthday is Tuesday.We will just have a small little celebration on that day and gear up for the big party on Sunday.I am super excited.Busy with preparations and getting things all in order as the week will certainly fly by.I will more then likely be fairly hit and miss this week on posts.Lots to get accomplished and as organized as I can be,there will certainly be last minute crazyness but like I have said before... it's the good crazy.Taylor is home for spring break and Caitlin,Danny and my sweet grandbaby Charlotte, will be here on Friday.Cannot wait for all of us to be together.

I leave you with a few pictures from the last week.Very random.The boys made a "pancake bed" on the couch and Zoey joined them.My favorite one has got to be Joe... passed out with ipod blasting.Joe has been adjusting to an increase to his medication this past week and without fail,everyday,he finds his way to our large ottoman and crashes.In fact if you look at the previous posts pictures with Zoey and her therapists,Joe is in the background fast asleep.Hopefully he will begin to adjust shortly.Feel so bad for the little guy.You can see the fatigue hit and by then there is no keeping him vertical.


Cammie Heflin said...

So exciting! Zoey is going to LOVE school! I'm still holding Addy out right now. She MAY start in the fall but that depends on a few things. She will start next January for sure though :)

stephanie said...

I've lost count on how many times I've left a comment with tears streaming down. These are the happiest of tears! I am so proud of Zoey I can't even find the words. That dumpling just amazes me and everyone she comes in contact with.
She is going to do so incredibly well in school. SCHOOL! I can't believe it.
OH, I wish I could just inhale her!

Cheri said...

She is going to love her class....I LOVE that she sat and signed and giggled for everyone the whole 2 hours I can just picture it!! (Reid was a little more quiet at his but out of the blue started saying , "ouww, ouww" get attention and then gave us this big grin when he got it)! What a milestone she has made!! I am so excited to see her "first day of school" pictures when you post them....what a doll she is!!

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

A year ago we went through the same process. This year has made me feel like a new woman - having some 'time' and Ivey having time with others. I can trump you though we had close to 20 people crammed in to those meetings - sometimes more. Sometimes I feel like I'm your echo and you mine. We get looks for opting out of somethings...we opted speech, which is tricky with a girl who still doesn't really even taste food at the end of her third year. Ivey will be four in april - time sure does fly when having fun. Enjoy the new chapter. It will be interesting, lucky for Zoey - she too has a pretty strong mama. Sure do wish we could watch her blow out those candles. But, we will be thinking of her from Georgia.!!

mandd3 said...

For your little butterfly as she embarks on a new chapter -

The Caterpillar
by Christina Georgina Rosetti

Brown and furry
Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.

May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.

My girls had to learn this poem in first grade and when you posted about her birthday party it was the first thing that came to mind. I have a binder to, now I can look forward to filling it with happier stuff.

Lacey said...

Somehow I missed the previous post, even though you and I talked about it. You know I left messages to new moms all the time, and not until recently did I think that they may click back and then fall off their chairs when they read Jax story!
Zoey is just going to blossom with all those kids to interact with. I think she is ready! Can't wait to see you. Funny thing, Ray is picking out an outfit to wear to the party. He wants to get a picture with his Zoey girl, and he wants to look his best!

almcl said...

This makes me SO happy!!

Tina said...

Such exciting times ahead for all of you and most of all for's amazing how this whole process is working out so smoothly for her, everyone has only Zoey's best interest in mind. She is truely going to blossom even more than she already has once she is in a classroom environment with other kids, really going to be an
extraordinary time for her.

I hope she has a wonderful birthday, it's really going to be a very special day, will be thinking of all of you.

blogzilly said...

What a great post about what looked to be a fantastic transition. School will be great for Zoey, can't wait for April! :)

Googsmom said...

Brook says "Welcome to school Zoey"

Heather, Zoey is going to do awesome!!!! I can't wait to hear all about the going's on in the classroom. This is wonderful!!!

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

I'm so glad that her meeting went well! Maybe I should have Kennedy at her next meeting and it would go better. Maybe THEN they wouldn't forget who they are talking about. *sigh* I do so hate IEP meetings.

I know Zoey is just going to LOVE school!!!! I can't wait to see all the different ways she thrives and grows!!! :) How are YOU doing with it all? I know you're excited for her to go, but are you a little sad too, that she's growing up so fast? I was, just a little. Mostly excited that she was ALIVE to reach that point, but a little sad that I had to let her go and couldn't protect her every second. BUT the impact Zoey is going to have on those around her is going to be SO worth it. :o)

I can't WAIT to see first day of school pictures!!!!!!!!!!

just jean said...

As I read about your IEP extravaganza, I am thinking how lucky you are to live in CA where there are so many resources for Zoey....even diapers!! I'm so happy that Zoey is going to enter a new environment where so many people are going to touch her life and even more, be touched by her. I can't wait to read about her new adventures!!

Anna said...

Heather, did you see what my daughter and I did last Friday? Read it. The place we went was beyond words! INCREDIBLE! I think I want to get my papers together to start volunteering until we get our little one home. It might be very good for me. Time flies doesnt it!I am so thankful Zoey has such a great team!

cheekyradish said...

Off to school. Pretty exciting news!! Her birthday is the day before my daughters..have a WONDERFUL celebration - as there is so very much to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

Love the pancake bed with the boys and all of the critters........ Love to you all, I'm adjusting too, to a week w/o Zoey x 2 :) Miss you, see you soon, would love to talk about the IEP. xo Christi Harman

Michelle said...

My goodness, we've reached that for the little miss Zoey! I can't believe it. How proud you must be to see your amazing little warrior fight her way here, side by side with all those wonderful people and of course you...her strength, her advocate, her angel! Thanks for calling the other day...we have a lot to celebrate this week my friend! Love and miss you!

Mary said...

I always find IEP meetings intimidating. When I was teaching 1st grade, I never understood why parents felt that way. Silly me.

Zoey will love school! Congrats!

ABandCsMom said...

I can't believe Zoey is about to start school! Wow!! She will love it.

Love the pictures. Wish I could fall asleep anyplace at anytime...Although, I wish your poor little guy didn't have to be medicated. He will adjust to his meds in time.

I have kept Carly's medical information in a big old three ring binder. I kept everything, appointment reminders, orders from home med supply, lab sheets, inpatient papers, discharge papers..EVERYTHING. Paul asked me the other day if we could toss them. I think NOT!

Peter Olson said...

School is Cool!
You may be surprised when someone asks you a question and you have to refer back to those filed papers to find the answer. ;-)
Time fly's. Hold tightly onto the good memories like precious treasures, but file the bad memories and forget about them. ;-)
May God Bless You All With Many, Many Fond Memories of Times Enjoyed Together.

Marissa's Dad said...

Marissa is transitioning to school in the Fall. It seems to be going fairly well, at least in this early part of the process.

I'm not sure if I'm emotionally ready though.

Anonymous said...

and.......she's off to school! Wow how smoothly things went for you Heather & Zoey. And it sounds like she really WOWED 'EM! Awesome