Monday, May 21, 2007

An Angel

The lady in these pictures name is Germaine. Germaine is an angel.

Ella was born on a Wednesday night, on Friday my mom flew in from Alaska. My husband had gone home to spend some time with our son so it was just my mom and I in the hospital room. We were crying. Most of my time in the hospital was spent crying, but this was the first time my mom and I were left alone and we were REALLY crying. In the middle of this in walks Germaine, a CNA at the hospital. Germaine took one look at me and immediately came and sat on my hospital bed. She said "is it your baby?" I said yes. She then hugged me and held me for the longest time. She told me "God knows." and began praying and telling me that things will work out. I can't tell you all that she said, most of my time there is a fog, a bad dream, but I can tell you that she is the first person that gave me any hope. It was kind of strange, some lady I had never met holding me, our cheeks touching each other and her whispering prayers in to my ear, but at the same time it was so comforting. Of course I cried harder hearing her words, and she just kept holding on. When I finally stopped she kissed me on the cheek and said to me "One day you will bring that baby back up here to see me and tell me that everything is good."

Well, that one day was today. I did not remember her name, but I decided that I was going to find her and I did. I knew that if I told her how much her compassion meant to me that I would began to cry, so I wrote all of my feelings in a card. I described Germaine to the nurse working the desk and she went to get her. I was unsure if I would even recognize this lady. She rounded the corner, smiled at me and ran up and gave me a huge hug. I knew it was her, and apparently she had remembered me. She held and loved on Ella. She told me that she knew I would come back. No one at the hospital had showed me any compassion, except for Germaine. She was an angel sent to me. I do not know if at that time she even knew what Ella's diagnoses was, because she did not ask, she simply said that "God knows." To me, looking back, that means that God knew what he was doing when he gave Ella to me. He put her in a family that will love her unconditionally and give her every opportunity possible, and I'm not just talking about me and her father I mean our whole family. God also knew that I really could handle this all, even though when she was born I thought that he had made a huge mistake and that I was not cut out for this. I'm new to the whole religion thing, so I still have a lot of questions about why Ella has Down syndrome, but I do know that she was given to me to change my life. I no longer believe in coincidence and certainly don't trust odds (HA). This is how my life was meant to be. It is no coincidence that Germaine was working that day, I believe she was sent to me and that she is an angel.

While I was up at the hospital I also ran into my OB. Now, I will say that I am not entirely crazy about her. I only saw her twice during my pregnancy, I saw her nurse the rest of the time. The day I went into labor she met me at the hospital and said "I am not doing a C-section on you today, it is too early. No baby today." Well, good I hadn't really planned on having a baby 6 weeks early. She gave her instructions to the nurse and left, about 5 hours later she came back and checked me, she began shaking her head and she said "this is not good. I have to think." and walked out of the room. My husband and I looked at each other, when a doctor says they have to think while shaking her head, it is definitely not good. She came back not even 5 minutes later and said "okay, we are having a baby." Hmmm, didn't she say "no baby!" Well, then began all the paperwork and I was wheeled into the OR about 15 minutes later. Ella was born, no one had any concern in their voice, she was a good size they said and she was crying so everything was good to me. Once I was in recovery the doctor came in and checked on me while my husband was still in the nursery with Ella. She just asked me how I was feeling etc, said the baby was doing good, nothing out of the ordinary to me. A while later, once Chris was in the room with me, the OB had come back in and was checking on me again. While she was in there the pediatrician that attended Ella's birth came in. He told me that he was going to test her for Down's and the OB says, "yeah, I saw it too." Okay, so if she saw it and had already been in to see me why didn't she say anything? Maybe she didn't say anything because I was alone the first time, I don't know. I really didn't know her. So, at that point I didn't really feel one way or the other about her, really I hadn't given her another thought. Then I had my postpartum follow-up. I took Ella in with me. Her comment to me was "well, at least you will always have a baby." Um, not exactly what a mom with a new baby with DS wants to hear. In fact this was one of my initial fears, was that Ella could never be independent and would forever need my constant care. So, needless to say from that point on, I didn't care for my OB. So here I am the hospital today to see my angel, and I run into the OB. She looked at me, and then looked at Ella and seemed quite surprised. I have no doubt that I looked like crap after having the baby and at my postpartum checkup, puffy eyes etc. She asked how old Ella was now, and I told her 8 months, she commented on how big she was and asked if she could hold her. Ella was wonderful, she pulled the OB's hair tried ripping out her earrings, tried putting her hand in the OB's mouth, all the "normal" baby things! The doctor said that she was really strong and looked really good. I was so proud of Ella. As the doctor started to walk away I called to her while Germaine was holding Ella, I told her that I had heard that 92% of parents that found out their baby had DS aborted their baby, she said yes. I told her that I would like her to give out my name and number to parents who find out, so they could call and ask questions. My thoughts on this are maybe if they see that Ella is just a baby, and see her smiling face maybe they will see that they can do it, that Down syndrome is not as hopeless as they fear. Anyhow, she said "okay I'll do that." It didn't dawn on me until I was back in the van that she never asked my name or number, and I highly doubt that she remembers my name. I still don't like her very much.

It was really strange being back up on that floor of the hospital. My memories are not fond, while it should have been a time of joy, my experience was a time of sorrow and hopelessness. But I feel better having gone up there and showing Germaine and the OB that Ella is wonderful.


Liesl said...

"As for God, His way is perfect."

We love you, Kacey--and Chris, Hunter and Ella! Wish I could have met Germaine in that hospital, too. She truly was sent from God.

Michelle said...

sounds like God was watching out for you to send you the angel in the form of a nurse! How special that you were able to go back to to the hospital and meet her again!

I love the pigtail pictures below!

Jennifer said...

Germaine was my nurse for one morning. That morning, Bonnie was there visiting me, and she told Bonnie she would be back up there next year having a baby. :) She was wonderful. I didn't remember that until I saw her picture. I love you, KC. Like a sister I never had!

Belovedlife said...

I too LOVE the Peanut wears her hair like that frewquently too.
You are truly lucky to have had your Angel come to you at the hospital. Mine did the form of a friend who had gone thru way worse troubles then I at the birth of her kids. (she has kids with multiple disabilities, including one child with CF, whome she had lost the year before we had PEanut)
It really does matter, having someone ther to tell you it will be alright, even if it doesn't feel like it.
I think it was great you got to go back and say thank you...
BIG BIG pat on the back for stepping up to offer to talk to new or expectant parents. I heave done that myself, and it makes a world of difference.

kyouell said...

I'm here (late) from JenniferGG's Pinwheels and reading some back posts. Love looking at the photos of your beautiful kids! My son, The Biscuit, has Ds. I also have a 5mo daughter.

I just wanted to let you know that not only was this a beautiful post that made me cry, but that you have inspired me. Our son had to have some heart surgeries and so we have gone back and forth on what we are working on. We're either keeping him healthy for the next hospital ordeal or we are having a bunch of home visits from his teacher, OT, Speech Therapist, etc.

Anyway, I had been asked by my OB to get in touch with another mom whose child had the same heart prob as our son. It never occurred to me to be a resource for people who have just received a Ds diagnosis! What a great idea. I happen to love my OB and I'm going to send them a letter in Monday's mail (so they'll have it in writing) that they can give out my name and phone number to parents who are wondering what this whole thing is like. I'm also going to bring up the idea with our local support group (the Buddy Walk is next week).

Thanks for the inspiration!