Monday, February 28, 2011

For you are fearfully and wonderfully made ... Psalms 139

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I used this very same verse for Zoey's 3rd birthday last year.Hard to find one better.So why try.Encapsulates all that needs to ever be said about our beautiful and perfect girl.

Wednesday the little love turns 4.How can that be?Seems like she has been with us like, forever and in other ways,much like our other children,seems like only yesterday that she came blazing into our lives.

I have spent a great deal of time reliving that week prior to her birth.That week holds the single one regret I have ever had over the course of last 4 years.A single defining moment,I have often wished I could rewrite.

Zoey was born on a Friday.11:12 am to be exact.A crazy morning,culminating what had been a crazy,whirlwind week.Monday I had gone to what was to be most likely, my last ultrasound before her birth.I had been seeing a pediatric cardiologist since the day her heart defect was detected,which so happens to be the day of the above ultrasound photo.We monitored her well being for nearly 20 weeks.Kept a eye on that,in true Zoey fashion,"larger than most",AV Canal Defect.We looked at her tiny heart and at all those oh so important arteries that supplied blood to her precious body.We studied.We looked,we relooked and I grew to know each little facet, of each little part of that little heart and beautiful perfect head.Mondays appointment brought all good news.Another week.Another sigh of relief.

Tuesday was my weekly non-stress test at my obstetricians.That turned into a marathon 2 hour visit, as the already stubborn child of mine, wasn't yielding the movements my OB liked.Finally after orange juice and cold water till I was bursting at the seams, he got a few reads he was pleased with and sent us packing.

Wednesday was a funky day.Zoey was doing these really weird movements.Almost nonstop.All day long.I almost called Mark at many points during the day but she managed to settle and I brushed it off as nothing.Because what we usually hear is no movement equates to not good but lots of movement was,well,we never actually hear anything about over activity,do we?.

Thursday came and I felt like garbage all day.And lo and behold,by evening time,I had Mark head home and told him we needed to head into the hospital because this baby was not going to wait until the next weeks scheduled c-section..I was indeed in labor.Very early though.We tried to hold her off but by morning,she needed to be delivered.I was oddly calm.Peaceful as well as excited.Glad that God,in hindsight, had covered me in His grace to see me through the next few hours.And He carried me alright.And my baby girl as well.Who I might add, arrived looking not too good.Super edemic,her skin,oddly colored and blotchy and well,she just didn't look quite right.

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And she wasn't alright.Not one bit.5 hours after birth she was life flighted to Children's Hospital.With a white count of 153,000 ... a normal count... 5,000-11,000.Initial,suspected diagnosis.... leukemia.And me,I sat on the edge of my bed.By myself and listened as the helicopter took off.And I wept.

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I did that alot over the course of the next 5 days.As one diagnosis after another came streaming in.The hardest to process was the stroke.A stroke.How can this be?But she is a newborn baby.A fragile,tiny thing.How does this happen?How DID this happen?I would learn,through the miracle of modern medical advancement,that they had pinpointed that she had suffered a major middle cerebral artery incident,the clot still present in her carotid artery, and that it had occurred just days before birth.Cell death had told them so and a PERFECT ultrasound of her perfect brain not 4 days before,had confirmed it.And here is where the regret comes in ...

Looking back it was easy to now see that her lazy responses during that final non-stress test and her squiggly wiggly ways on that Wednesday,was her way of letting us know she was in trouble.She was trying,in the only way she knew how,to let us know she needed help.And I failed her.I didn't let my tried and true mother's instincts lead me.And I regret that.And I feel guilty.I wished that I had asked my doctor,who I love and do not blame in the least bit,if we should maybe check her out in the hospital,rather than accept the rather if'y non-stress results.I wish I had called my doctor on that Wednesday,when in my heart,being my 6th child,I knew her odd activity,was nothing I had ever felt before.Like I said,I have regrets. Even and most especially,4 years later,as I watch her struggle from the effects of that stroke.Not to mention the seizures that riddled her little baby body and robbed her of things we might never know about.I often wonder if I could have prevented it had I payed just a little closer attention to the little subtle messages.Hard load to shoulder sometimes.

I have really never shared that regret with anyone.And really,it feels like a failure more than anything else.Like I let down and failed to protect,this innocent baby,who only had me to look out for her.I played the blame game for a long time after Zoey's birth and sometimes,I think it has only been recently,that I have let some of that go.

Probably time isn't it?Because ultimately,I have to circle back the one thing that sustained me in those early hours and continues to sustain me today and that is my faith.Zoey's life was and continues to be,not mine to dictate and direct.Not my plan.Not my doing.Not my rules.Never was.Never will be.Better and easier to relinquish that power and control and today focus instead in the miracle of the moment ... which for the next few days, will be a certain darling, nearly 4 year old.

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Zoey received this cute little gift in the mail the other day and let me tell you, she loves this thing.It is a princess portable DVD player that arrived on our doorstep, from a new Facebook friend,Maria and her sweet little chromosomally enhanced love, Danika.We were so touched by this generous and might I add,unnecessary present.Totally blown away by the love and generosity of others.People really and truly amaze me sometimes.A big thank you again to our new found friends.We are blessed.

25 comments:

stephanie said...

I can't believe she going to be four. and I can't believe we haven't met yet!!! To chicken s*it flyers! What are we to do???

Amazing post H!

Googsmom said...

Love you Heather!!
Love Zoey!!
Love Maria and Danika too!
Happy almost 4th birthday beautiful, perfect Zoey!

Runningmama said...

She is amazing, there is something about her smile that captivates me! Let go of the Mommy guilt, although God knows we all carry it at times...she is exactly who God wants her to be and the stroke is in some way is all part of it. Of all the kiddos I follow on blogs, Zoey is one of the ones I would love to meet most, I told Denise on the phone one day that there is just something about her that I can't put my finger on but it's captivating :-)

Kristen's mom said...
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Maureen said...

Heather, you are one of the very best and most informed moms I have ever met. How could you possibly have prevented a stroke? Would an earlier delivery have changed anything?

If I had a dime for every bad feeling I got while I was pregnant, and forced myself to ignore because I didn't want to drive people crazy, I'd be a rich woman. It's hard to always trust your instincts when you are already on edge and full of anxiety - I never know if it's my intuition talking or my insanity.

The same doctor who told you Zoey was "okay" after the iffy tests is the one who told me Jack (my 9-pound baby!) had IUGR. I don't blame him either, but so much of obstetrics is a crap shoot and an odds game. Ultimately, it's in God's hands. And part of me hates that because I want it to be in my hands.

Lacey said...

Oh my gosh,that DVD player is too cute!
I carry momma guilt about Jax brain injury as well. Why was I not there, I could have stopped those idiots! If only I'd arrived a half hour earlier!
I'm doing so much better at getting over that it wasn't my fault. Zoey couldn't be any more perfect. And when she wraps her arms around my neck and squeezes so tight, I could stay there all day!

Jeana said...

Reading this reminds me how much your amazing little girl has overcome and how far she has come. She was definitely not dealt any easy card, but oh how she has taken what she was given and persevered beautifully. You are such an amazing mother that has given that little girl your whole self and shown the rest of us lucky moms how to do the same. Happy birthday Zoey, we really need to get to Cali so we can play!

Scrappy quilter said...

It's so hard to believe your little angel is 4. I remember the first time I visited your blog and Zoey touched my heart in ways I can't even explain. To this day, your little love still does. There are a couple in the blogging world that do...it's magical for me each time I visit and see them. Zoey girl, you are a delight. Happy Birthday sweet girl. Hugs to you and lots of love coming from Canada. Hugs to mom to for your friendship.

Melissa said...

Zoey is absolutely perfect!! Mommy guilt is awful, but there is no way to know if delivering her a few days earlier would have changed anything or not. I know you know this, but I know that it also doesn't make the guilt go away.

The VW's said...

Regret.....such a heavy burden to carry! I have huge regret over not fighting louder and harder for Gavin before his stroke! But, like you said, it's not our story to write and this is what gets us through! Zoey is a miracle, and her story is perfect! Love and Hugs!

Becca said...

You had me crying into my breakfast again this morning.

Wow, I had NO idea she'd been through so much from so early on. I knew she'd had leukemia and a stroke, but didn't realize they were both at/before birth. You absolutely *cannot* blame yourself. You are an amazing mother, she is an amazing little girl. Guilt or regret for what occurred in utero that couldn't be stopped is so unfair - you don't deserve to feel anything but joy for Princess Zoey.

Wow, 4!!! Happy early birthday to your beautiful, captivating little girl!

Annie @ The House That Jade Built said...

She is a stunning little girl! Let go of that regret, you can definitely not blame yourself. God always has a plan and a purpose, and sometimes they are terribly hard to take on ourselves. I have learned that his plans are always better than mine. I am still learning of his purpose. She's a beauty & happy 4th to her and you mama!

Sweet Pea's Mommy said...

Hugs!!!

Love the photos of Zoey and the new DVD player! She is so adorable!

Elizabeth said...

What a brilliant weaving you've done here of these first four years of parenting your little Zoe. Your beautiful Zoe, whose path is her own, and whom you have shared with us.

Happy Birthday, beautiful little girl and happy birth day to you, beautiful woman.

Claudia said...

A very happy birthday to sweet miss Zoey, and also a very happy birthday to parents, brothers and sisters - how lucky you are.

xo
Claudia

Cammie Heflin said...

The date on your ultrasound is the day before Addy's birth, what different emotions you and Addy's birth mom were feeling that day! Hugs to the birthday girl! We love you Zoey can't wait to see you!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Miss Zoey. I am Bluebelle's walking partner and dear friend. I have bookmarked your site and love watching you grow and reading your mom's beautiful tribute to you and your dad, sisters and brothers. You are not only a remarkable and beautiful little girl and an inspiration to everyone but your mom also needs to be commended for the beautiful way she documents her family's every move. Happy 4th Birthday. Ginny

Anonymous said...

This is your own very special day - sweet Zoey Grace......

Happy Birthday!!!

Love, hugs & a thousand kisses

Aunt Bluebelle

Ruby's Mom said...

Happy Birthday beautiful Zoey!!!!

Karol said...

A beautiful story about a beautiful girl. It's the challenges that reveal the true beauty of every soul. Praising God for your faith and his grace.
Happy Birthday Zoey Girl!!!

Tina Michelle said...

Wow, she has been through a lot in her little life. It is so nice to see that last pic and her lovely smile.

SECRET PEPPER PERSON: said...

What a sweet post. Thank you.

Melani said...

I have not been able to read/blog for a long time! My 3.5 yr old does not nap anymore and well that was MY time to blog/read/whatever... I have missed your blog a lot!

Happy 4th Birthday to a wonderful girl! She is so adorable!

I agree whole heartedly with you, you need to let go of your guilt. I know it is hard, I have some too, but pray, pray pray and it will eventually stop bringing you down.

Your a wonderful person and an awesome Mother who always has put her children first and formost! Don't ever forget that.

My 6 Beautiful kids said...

Love the pictures..I'm glad she had a GREAT bIRTHDAY...& She loved her present..:)

My 6 Beautiful kids said...

I am glad she loved her present..Love the pictures..Adorable...