Friday, June 22, 2007

Visits, Laura Memorial, and Grandpa Tonys!

Visiting home for those 8 days, brought a lot of great memories, and new ones as well. I had a chance to watch a video with my niece of her performance with her school production. In it she wore a shawl that I'd knitted as part of her costume. She did a fantastic job with her role! I then got to visit a few of my cousins and catch up on news with them, help to get strawberries ready for jam (yummy, I might add), and sit in the back yard of another cousin's house while she strung up lights and I knitted away. She started some crocheting afterwards, and I only got 2 mosquito bites! And let me tell you..that's pretty darned good for me! I am always envious of how green it feels back there without having to pay for watering the yards. Here in southern California, we're in the 8th year of a drought, and they've now asked us to ration our showers this summer. Can you believe that? I'm thinking the stores better not run out of deodrant. ulg.

The next day, turned out to be a very emotional day for me. I was unprepared for getting hit so hard. In fact, its part of the reason I've not written just yet about this experience. If you look on the left side of my page, you'll see lots of yahoo groups up there. The AC4C group is but one of them. We were knitting and crocheting and sewing up items for a hospital which just so happens to be down the way from where my parents live. I asked if I would be able to drop off my donations while in town, rather than have them included with the groups' boxes that will be sent shortly to them.

One of our memebers had resently passed away. It is in her honor that we were donating things for this group. I had the opportunity to go the Bay Medical Center and meet with Patti. Patti is a nurse that has been working with the Precious Reflections group since 1991. They work with bereaved parents after the loss of their babies in pregnancy and infant loss. She took me around their Birthing Center and explained what the group provides. I was amazed that this is being offered. Why? because it is so opposite of my experience when I lost a baby back in 1983. My experience was so horrible, and I found myself getting very emotional as Patti talked to me.
My short stay over night, was greeted in the morning by a nurse patting me (I hate being patted on the head...feels so degrading, puppy dog like) and telling me, "That's ok dear, you can always have another baby." I wanted to scream. I did burst into tears and tell her to get the hell away from me. I didn't want her anywhere near me again. It was time for me to grieve for the baby I wasn't going to be able to hold. In fact, they never let me see my baby. I am convienced that it was a girl, but they never would tell me. Two weeks later, at my check up appointment, I was left for well over an hour in a waiting room filled with very large tummies of babies on the way. I stayed in the chair for a long time, silently crying until I couldn't take it anymore. Sobbing I went to the receptionist and hollared at her for making me sit there for so long past my appointment time when I was there after losing a baby. Only THEN, did they bring me into the back to an office while I waited for the doctor to catch up on his appointments. He was way behind that afternoon, and that didn't help matters. The rest of my 'recovery' was left to me alone. At home. Only a few friends and members of the church called to offer their condolences, except for having to call home on my Mom's birthday to tell her that I'd lost the baby. Nothing else was ever provided to help me through that time. By the time I'd gotten back after my visit to Bay Medical Center, the other day, I was not doing well. After all these years, it hit me really hard. (I can't believe, I just told the world all about this...)

Now, onto the visit with Patti.

First of all, I have to say how wonderful and comforting her personality was during our visit. At the birthing center, each room is private for both labor and birth in the same room!, providing there are no complications. In the hospital the rooms have oak cabinets, an 'entertainment center/wardrobe unit, and bassinet waiting for the baby's arrival. There is also a small table and 2 chairs, and 2 rocking/recliners for daddys and mommys to use. On the walls, in the hallways and in each room were photos of happy, healthy babies all over the place. Such an inviting atmosphere! Warm and inviting, and personal. And here's the best quote Patti, "Our new wing will be opened soon, and is just going to be beautiful!" "Better than this?" I asked? I could hardly imagine.

However, for those parents who aren't fortunate enough to bring home their little bundles of joy, they have this support group available. It's the only one available in the area, and other hospitals send their parents over for their services, too. Each family is given a tiny bracelet that reads 'Lil Angel' on it. Then the baby is wrapped in a handmade blanket and presented for the parents to say their goodbyes. In a small room next to the nurses' station they kept a bin of pretty blankets that had been donated to the group. I left Patti with a tiny BSJ, hat and the purple Just My Size Preemie KBB Blanket I'd made a few weeks ago. She told me that they don't usually get outfits for the babies to be dressed in. I hope this small one will help a family through their loss better than I was able to so many years ago.

She then went on to explain that once a month they meet as a support group with dedicated parents and professionals allowing the parents to grieve at their own pace. Every May they hold a Memorial Walk to honor the life of those babies lost, and in December they gather together at one of the local churchs for a Memorial service where each family is presented with an ornament to remember their child. By now, I was fighting tears as she described how this program was available. I told her that in such an unfortunate time for these parents, what a wonderful program they had at their disposal! How I wished something, in fact anything remotely similar would have been available for me years ago. Leaving the short meeting I had with Patti, I thanked her for having this program. As a parent who'd gone through such a loss, I hope they will continue this service for as long as it's needed. How different would my experience have been had I not felt so alone back then! Thank you Patti! I don't know if you'll ever know how much your time with me helped me with my own process, that apparently, I still have to work through.

Now, after getting to Mom and Dad's afterwards, Dad was finished with his chemo and radiation for the week. Being rather worn out, I was ready to hit up Grandpa Tony's! We were all ready to lighten the mood! I'm telling you. In my opinion, there is nothing to compare to a glass of Vernors and Tony's famous Steak sandwhich to make a girl feel like she's home again! Thanks Mom and Dad! That capped off a great visit home! To quote Rachel Ray.....YUMMO!