This is the Medical Alert bracelet Gracie picked out. Not my first choice, but I am learning this is not about me right now. Right?
On the back, it will have her name, my number, “No Allergies” “Epilepsy” and “Autism.”
I cannot believe how expensive these suckers are. It’s insane!
Gracie’s neurologist is located in the same hospital where she was born.
As Joe and I silently pulled up to the hospital, I looked up from our car. I was so tired. At this moment I wanted to be anywhere else but here.
There staring back at me was the all too familiar breeze-way of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. The windows to the NICU are on my left. I will never forget the layout. Joe and I made this drive twice a day back in March of 2005. The NICU windows were always a welcoming sign. “You daughter is here, waiting for you.” And also a sign of sadness, and goodbyes. “Your daughter is here, waiting for you.”
These were the very same windows that I would look at while she was in the NICU. The same windows where I would look out into nothing and say a prayer to God that I would leave the hospital with a baby.
The same windows where once we had the official “Okay” to be discharged, I would look out in the early morning hours on the Tacoma streets and say a prayer for the babies who were left behind, and may not even make it home. It was in those moments I would thank God that my baby was okay…and pray for the parents who would not be.
My heart is forever broken seeing them. I saw a baby go into cardio arrest, while Mom and Dad helplessly stood by.
They did not go home with their baby.
Gracie’s “neighbor” was a beautiful baby boy born at 28 weeks. I had the pleasure of seeing Mom and Dad daily. For a brief period, we went through the same milestones together……until we did not. They also left Mary Bridge without their baby.
My God, can you imagine?
Many memories from those windows in Mary Bridge.
Once Joe, Gracie and I left, I never thought I would see those windows again.
Yet, here we are. Twelve years later.
That same baby who was laying in the NICU fighting for her life, the same baby who was born with her intestines outside of her body…the same baby whose fate was up in the air….and now, twelve years later,the same baby who would has been diagnosed with autism……and now epilepsy. That same baby who is now a beautiful young lady is back again……as are my memories of the NICU windows at Mary Bridge.
This time around, I am a little bit stronger. I am ready to tackle epilepsy and tell it to go…well, you know.
I am ready to fight, to advocate, to be a voice……but more importantly, now, 12 years later, you have the voice of that baby who was on a ventilator. The same baby who had a collapsed lung, you now have her voice…the voice of a very feisty strong pre-teen..and you know what will happen…..she will look at you and say “Really, epilepsy, that’s all you got? I will do this.”
Thank you all for you never-ending support.
Thank you Ntombi for showing me the site for the ID bracelet.
Thank you Deb for the phone call. I need to hear your story….we will connect soon.
Thank you Barbra for your way too generous offer of offering to help pay for ID bracelet.
Thank you Stacey for your New York humor, and thinking of me at my worse.
Thank you family for your prayers.
Carolyn, please thank your community for thinking of Gracie, I am humbled.
Dad, thank you to reaching out to your friend, I have learned a lot and I am ready to go.
And most importantly, to anyone who is reading this……thank you, thank you for caring about not only my words, but my life.