Layout

Sunday, June 29, 2014

#28 - Preparing for Court (Journal Entries Through February 2012)

We are trying hard to be self sufficient.  Maybe it's our pride, but part of us just wants to carry this part of the burden ourselves.  With all the Christmas decorating and work that's been done, I feel like our heads are above water again.  We are refinancing our house to pull out money for legal fees, but that's a process.  In the meantime, our attorney has been good about taking payments from us as we have the money.  With 2 attorneys to carry us through the Health and Welfare part of this, it took all the money we had in savings.  When that was out, we prayed about what the next step should be.  The sweet boy from Hunter's class motivated others with a pizza party using his own birthday money - completely unknowing of our financial situation.  Now, as we wait for our refinance to go through, we are in debt at this point to our attorney.  Not a good feeling, but what else do we do?  We try hard to live within our means, but this unplanned legal battle has been humbling for us.  We continue to pray to Heavenly Father to know the best route to go to be able to make our way through this financially. 

November 23, 2011

The cooks at the elementary school (good friends of ours) surprised us with a pie and roll sale right in time for Thanksgiving!  They baked rolls and asked for people to donate pies and the community came to buy for their Thanksgiving get-togethers.  They donated the proceeds to us. 
 
This huge blessing has come at such a critical time for our family.  It's a literal answer to prayer and helps ease our minds financially going into the holiday season.  I ask myself again and again why we are so blessed.  God hears our prayers and prompts people in real ways to help us.  He puts thoughts, ideas, inspiration into their minds and then - they act on it!  It really is miraculous!  It's made me more aware of the ways I hear the Lord - that feeling I get to call someone, make cookies, invite them to dinner, to take dinner to a sick friend, or to be praying for someone in general.  I don't know what they are needing or praying for, but God does.  I hope I am tuned in and paying attention - and that He's able to use me like he has used these wonderful people to answer our prayers. 

Our friends gave me a touching report once it was all over and done with.  People brought homemade pies, turned around and bought other pies, and then donated the pies they had just bought back to the bake sale!  Pans and pans of rolls were bought.  The amount that was raised was certainly more than the worth of the food on the tables.   
Jason and I have been prepared to go into debt over all of this, but for whatever reason the Lord has blessed us with the people around us to help bear our burden - financially, emotionally, and physically.  I can't help but improve my way of serving after being served the way I have.  None of these people waited for me to ask.  None of them said, "Well, let me know what I can do to help."  They just rolled up their sleeves and went to work.  There is no way I would have ever suggested a bake sale for our benefit.  I'm sure they had other plans for the days leading up to their own Thanksgiving gatherings, but they chose to serve and bless another in a very real way.  There were tears as they handed me the money they raised - not only my tears, but from those that served.  Like before, it wasn't about the money.  It was more about the support, the friendship, and feelings I have to know people are behind us.  God hears and answers prayers in very real ways. 


December 18, 2011

My mom and I took a trip this weekend the Shiner's Hospital for a second opinion on Bryer's hips.  I needed reassuring, but I also wanted a second opinion on her hospital diagnoses.  This was my chance away from doctors in our area.  It should be easy to just ask, but not with the reaction I've had at other doctor appointments.  We got the second opinion for her hips - it does look like she needs to be weight baring to form her hip joint and that she's considered to have a 'hip at risk,' so they will continue to x-ray it every 6 months.  I also asked about hyperbaric oxygen therapy and he said if they had one at the hospital, he would stick her in it today to see if it would help.  It was confirming to me that I was on the right track with that research.  It took me the whole trip and most of the actual visit to bring up the misdiagnoses.  The doctor had gotten to know us over the course of our visit and I hoped he would understand where I was coming from.  They always ask in the beginning about past history, so I had told them the information we know for sure - she stopped breathing while she was laying down for a nap.  When I told him the whole story and asked him what his opinion was, I could tell he was hesitant to offer it - somehow bound by hospital regulations or a privacy act.  He looked at me with tender eyes and said he was sorry.  I was definitely not the first he has seen of a possible misdiagnoses.  There are too many that get labeled SBS when his gut feeling is otherwise.  I felt relief.  Finally, a doctor that would understand!  I had half-way braced myself for getting shot down again and I felt the stress leave my body as he spoke.  He said unfortunately he couldn't testify (how did he know that was an option?), but that he would offer his positive thoughts for our family. 




I left feeling satisfied with our visit.  At least there's one doctor that says there's another way.  There has to be more like him out there!  Jason has been working on that side of things and has found a few that will maybe work with us for trial.  The cost of these doctors is outrageous.  The one we are looking into charges $2000 just to look at our file to tell us if it's something he can testify on.  If we choose to use him for court, he charges an hourly fee to prepare and then $10,000 each day that he is here for court!  1 day. $10,000.  What other options do we have at this point?! 

******

I had a treat to look around at IKEA with my mom and cousin when we visited Shriners.  I noticed groups of ladies with their kids.  Shopping with kids is much different than just shopping.  I know from experience with 5 that they want in the cart, then out of the cart, want to try out merchandise, and ask for things they want.  Kids eat free today at IKEA, which explains why it was worth it to the moms to bring kids along. 

We walked around the store and I packed Bryer around, as I usually do.  She gets a much better work out through her body and practicing her head control, trying to stay upright on my hip or chest, than hunched over in a stroller.  I laid her on all the different textures and tried to find things that would spark an interest for her.  I get to provide all these experiences that normally she would be going after herself.  After a while she fell asleep in my arms.  Packing 24 pounds of somewhat-dead-weight is not easy, so we padded the cart with our coats and I carefully layed her down, hoping the movement of the cart would also lull her and keep her asleep as my shoulder had.  When I put her down, her eyes popped open and she layed there content, looking at all the lights along the tall, warehouse ceilings.

I noticed a Mom with an active toddler shopping near me.  Her baby, about the same age as Bryer, was climbing all over her, back and forth from hip to hip, trying to climb over her shoulder, wanting to get down and run around, and obviously wouldn't sit content in a cart.  I took notice of her, amazed at the ease her body moved compared to Bryer's with her tight mucles.  She babbled things at her Mom as a typical 14 month-old would.  As this Mom got closer, she noticed Bryer, laying content in the cart, facinated at the simple overhead lights.  She looked at Bryer in the cart and said, "Well at least she's laying there and being good and not climbing all over!"

I smiled at her and offered a courtesy laugh.  My mouth wanted to open and offer an explaination.  I wanted to tell her, "My baby can't climb all over, even if she wanted to.  Cherish what your baby can do.  Love this time with your child.  Enjoy her curiosity. Let her explore.  Let her handle the textures in the store.  Lift her up to see the things that facinate you.  Point out colors and shapes as you shop.  It is a miracle the way her brain processes and connects."  I looked down at Bryer and her innoscent smile at the lights above her.  It made me smile as I looked up to notice what she saw.  Simple, bright lights.  Or maybe she was smiling at her angels again.  I am thankful for her to helping me to look up.  Not only physically, but spiritually to look up.  Look to God for help in raising her...  To find the simplicity in miracles...  To find and have the simple, childlike faith that is essential to our progression.  And I'll try to remember my own advice when I have all 5 of my kids at the store with my next time and they want to touch and feel and talk and show me all that they find amazing. 


Jan. 11, 2012

A new year, but I feel like we're caught still stewing in the old one.  We have 2 big, thick binders almost all together to send off to a neurosurgeon in Maryland.  He was very picky about wanting the information divided and labeled a certain way - police reports, past medical records, birth records, current therapy records.  We went over the binders with our family doctor to make sure it was in the right order.  I am thankful for his help and determination in our case. 

He marked all the red flags he noticed as he went through all the medical records:
-The fracture that wasn't in the first scan, but showed up after intubation
-There was never any mark or bruising around the site of the fracture. 
-Blood levels that were high already, which are not from trauma, but from prior illness. 
-Lack of spinal damage or other broken bones.  If a baby is shaken hard enough to cause brain bleeding, there should also be spinal damage and possibly cracked ribs. 
-There was retinal bleeding, but her retinas stayed in tact.  Again, if a baby is shaken that hard, there should be either 1 or both detached retinas. 

Bryer's pediatrician has been less than helpful, but our family doctor is also a friend of ours and has been a great advocate.  I would like to change doctors for Bryer, but there's a fear instilled in me - that if I switch, I won't be providing her with the best or I'll be hopping doctors to escape from something.  The truth is, if I was diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, I would get a second opinion.  There's also the fear of searching for another doctor that will understand us, and maybe getting shot down several times in the process.  How do I gather that much strength to go from doctor to doctor trying to find one that will understand? 

******

Court was an eye opener for me.  Again, I sat at the table labeled "Defense" without Jason next to me.  It's like a really bad Law and Order that just won't end.  The implications hadn't sunk in until the judge explained the consequences if they find me guilty.  Felony injury to child carries a sentence of a minimum of 1 year incarceration with a maximum of 10 years.  Court fines on top of that.  Makes me sick to think I could miss my kids' baptisms, their first day of school, tucking them in at night, reading stories to them, making dinner, doing their laundry, kissing Jason when he walks through the door, running them to/from practice, sleeping between Jason and Bryer.  It's a hard thing to pray for Heavenly Father's will to be done.  This is a good, righteous desire to be able to stay and raise my family, right?  It's not like I'm asking for something that's not appropriate.  Can I have enough courage to ask that His will be done?  Is there someone that needs the gospel in jail?  I love this life and my testimony.  Am I strong enough to let it all go so I can share it openly with whomever needs it?  Is it really true that He makes up for every tear shed, 100-fold?  It has been worth it this far to see Mandy and Jamie change their lives.  Is there more?  Is it enough of a trial to raise a special needs child or would God also ask for our family to be separated?  I haven't found the courage to ask.  Something holds me back.  I want to do the Lord's will - put it all in His hands, but it is so hard! 

*******

We had 2 doctor appointments today - the gastroenterologist to find out why Bryer's digestive system is so sporadic, and her pediatrician.  The first doctor only visited with us for a short time and then started asking more in depth questions, so I put it all out there for him.  He said, "Wait?!  They brought charges against YOU?!  Hopefully they are just crossing their t's and dotting their i's.  I'm really sorry."  It doesn't take long to get to know us - even for those that have all the negative hospital records in front of them.  He agreed with all of what was in front of him until I said that I was the one in question.  Even this doctor, a complete stranger to us, could not see how this could be.  He sent us home with a dosing chart of milk of magnesium. 

Her pediatrician made the comment, "She is making significant improvements and her tone (tight muscles) feels a lot better."  Still, her head circumference shows not much growth.  I wish they wouldn't even chart that measurement.  I'd rather talk about all the improvements and not dwell on the negative - the visual chart that shows her head circumference is dwindling off the charts.  Later on as I let him know that charges have been filed, he said, "I'm so sorry!  You obviously love and care for Bryer.  I am so sorry for you and that you have to emotionally revisit all of this."  Still sticking to his original diagnoses, maybe he thought it would all go away.  Maybe these doctors don't understand the implications their opinion has on the legal side of things.  They are using their medical opinions as fact. 

Kids are abused.  I get it.  It makes me sick to even think about.  I accept that SBS is real.  But just as real as it is, it's also not the only way to get the same symptoms.   It's like a child breaking an arm.  There are a million ways to break an arm - a fall off a bike, a horse, a trampoline.  Abuse is just one of them, but it's not the answer for all the others, or to use as an escape if they can't diagnose it correctly.   

Feb. 20, 2012

When I ask her doctors and specialists what else we can be doing, they only answer with therapy.  We're doing that.  She's making slow progress, but it's progress.  Her head control is good enough that she's graduated to a new kind of standing frame!  It's emotionally easier for me to put her in this one - and she loves to play in it! 


Bryer's Fan Club (her service coordinator, OT, and vision therapist)


Bryer working hard to straighten out her right arm with her PT
Months ago I asked our friend the chiropractor, "If Bryer were your baby, what would you do?"  Without hesitation, he said Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.  He explained it a little and I went home to Google it.  I was intrigued.  It's a tube - similar to maybe a MRI tube - that pressurizes with a person inside.  Then they breath 100% oxygen, rather than the 20% that we actually get in the air we normally breath.  With the combination of pressure and oxygen percentage, the cells in the body are able to absorb and use the oxygen that much more efficiently.  Oxygen is what our body uses to 'get rid of' old cells, repair injured cells, create new cells...
Bryer, loving her new standing frame

So the next logical step seemed to be to find a chamber to climb into with Bryer.  As I started researching, I found stories and videos of people it had an effect on.  My curiosity was growing the more I continued to learn.  I started getting serious.  I looked for places all over the U.S.  I learned that there are 13 diagnoses that are covered by insurance for the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).  Bryer has been officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy - not one of the 13 covered under insurance, although I had found individuals with CP that had been helped by HBOT.  I found chambers on the far side of our state and some in surrounding states, but none in our area.  They ranged in price from $100 to $800 for one session.  The chambers were anything from a tube to lay down in, to a whole room to seat 12 people.  All the centers said the same thing - Bryer would need between 20 and 40 treatments to see any kind of results to determine whether it was worth the cost.  That's a lot of money, especially when we are battling the legal stuff we have in front of us.  I feel like I'm researching in circles, without any possibility of a break through to actually try it. 

As we met with Bryer's doctors and specialists, I asked each of them about HBOT.  Each of them said about the same thing - there wasn't enough research done for or against it, but it wasn't going to hurt her.  They gave me the go-ahead with the hesitation that it was expensive and no proof behind it for CP.

We have been scrutinized so much on the care we give Bryer that I wanted to make sure it was out in the open - that this wasn't some secret, strange, 'alternative medicine' we were trying to experiment with.  I felt good that each of the doctors said it wasn't going to hurt her.  My wheels were turning.  How could we make this available for her?  I prayed and asked that if this may be of some benefit to Bryer, then God would make it available. 

More phone calls to clinics and hospitals with chambers and no one would see her unless she had one of the 13 diagnoses.  I felt like Moses, standing at the Red Sea with the Isrealites.  God had taken them that far.  He had protected them.  He had led and guided them.  And they reached a dead end. 

Or so they thought. 

I continued to pray that God would help us find a way to provide this service for Bryer.  I felt like this was a big part of her recovery and progression.  If we didn't do it, I would always wonder what would have happened if we tried HBOT.  And if we tried it and it didn't work, at least we could say we did everything in our power to help her. 

I got a phone call at the end of January.  My sister said she heard of a deal through Living Social, an online marketing business, advertising HBOT.  It was a chiropractor's office that just got a chamber and was trying to get the word out about it.  The deal they were offering was $40 for 2 treatments.  At first I was hesitant.  I didn't want to get excited about the possibility only to have it be a flop.  I prayed for composure and I called the doctor in charge of the chamber.  When we finally got to talk together, he answered all my questions and proved to know what he was talking about.  The main disappointment was that it was a soft shell chamber.  Not ideal, but still worthy of trying.  A soft shell chamber can reach 1.3 atmospheric pressure.  Ideally for Bryer she could use a 1.5 pressured chamber.  He said it could still be beneficial, but that there were no guarantees.  I appreciated him being up front and honest with me from the start.

I called my sister back to report that it was a worthwhile endeavor and she sent out emails to friends and family asking if anyone wanted to sponsor Bryer for sessions of therapy.  The response was wonderful!  14 'deals' were purchased, equaling 28 sessions of treatment!

The sea (seriously - a sea!) parted for Moses and they crossed on dry ground.  What I had felt led to, but seemed to be impossible, God made possible!

Our plan is to travel the 2 hours down on a Tuesday during the day, go in for a treatment that evening, another treatment Wednesday morning, then again Thursday night and Friday morning, and then drive the 2 hours back home by the time Hunter and Sawyr get home from school on Friday.  Jason does quite a bit of traveling between offices.  He is home nearly every night, but it usually isn't by the time Hunter and Sawyr get home from school.  As I worried about what to do with my older boys as we were in Boise for treatments, Jason suggested his youngest brother and wife. 

They had been in Guam up until Christmas time and had prayed for a way to help us in anyway they could.  They felt that if they were to move home, then they would be able to assist in whatever way we could use them.  I feel so fortunate to have family willing to put themselves out there and willing to act as Christ would if He were here.  He served the people without reservation.  So do they.  Everyone just has pitched in and the Lord has taken over...

*******

We have submitted the binders to our expert witness weeks ago and are still waiting to hear if it's something he feels like he can testify on.  The court has approved $25,000 of expert witness fees to be paid, rather than us coming up with it.  It should feel like a relief not to have to come up with that money, but instead I feel unsettled.  The money has to come from somewhere.  Taxpayers?  Hard earned, tax payer money that shouldn't have to be wasted on an expert witness that shouldn't have to be hired in the first place.  I try not to be mad about the whole situation, but it's frustrating to say the least.  At what point has a family had enough?  Can we call 'uncle' yet?  We've had enough!  How much more can we take?  Wouldn't it be a lot more beneficial for all these fund raisers to be going for Bryer - for HBOT - for something other than ridiculous legal fees and attorney costs?  We have no other option than to continue to fight tooth and nail to keep our family together.  And ask God for his blessing in the process.  He has a map to this crazy maze we're in.  I need that view and communication from the top so I don't get wrapped up and lost in the process of this mess.     


Sisters, ready to cheer on their brother at his basketball game! 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

#27 - Dance in the Rain (Journal Entries Through November 21, 2011)

November 1, 2011

I had some questions mulling in my head before bed.  Some I knew the answers to, some I didn't.  And maybe that's what prompted my very strange dream. 

What is the purpose of this life?  Why are we here?  What happens when we die?  Do we have the same personalities, the same strengths and weaknesses after this life?  What is our responsibility to others while we live this life? 

God really is the father of our spirits - our Heavenly Father, literally - and He wants not only my best interest, but every single person on this earth.  He loves us equally.  The person who has accepted Christ, and the one who hasn't.  The one that's in the front row at church, and the one that doesn't come at all.  The single, lost drug addict, and the married mom of 5 kids.  Our whole purpose of this life is to make choices that help us return to God - to our Heavenly Father. 

*****

I slept for 10 hours last night and for what seemed like the whole 10 hours, I dreamed I was in jail.  I was sentenced to only weekends and in my dream I was so stressed because I could never remember if it was Friday night or Saturday morning when I was supposed to check in.  My dream was so vivid with detail.  I can picture the people I met - mostly women.  I can still remember the conversations I had - mostly about the routine of things there, what we were aloud to do or not do, and some conversations about the gospel and Jesus Christ.  As I was there in my dream, I constantly worried about my children and also about finding a breast pump so I could pump in jail to get it to Bryer.  I remember one woman in particular that I became good friends with.  She had dark, short, curly hair and a medium build.  She answered all my questions and showed me the ropes.  I remember toward the end of my dream walking out the glass front doors along side her, both of us free, with the tall, chain length fence to the right of us with the curly barbed wire along the top. 

I woke up with a strange, mixed kind of feeling...  Thinking I didn't want to go there.  I want to be with my kids and enjoy them.  As much as I want to 'go and do' what the Lord would have me do, I have been hesitant to ask Him to let me stay with my family.  Is that strange?  Maybe so.  I really, truly, 100% want to do and be where Heavenly Father will use me.  I always thought that would be in my home.  With my husband.  With my kids.  Why would that not be right where I belong?  In my dream, there were people there that needed to hear about Christ.  They were everyday women like me.  They weren't what I would picture people being like in prison.  They did their hair and make up, even looked fashionable in their jailbird outfits.  They talked to me and I could ask questions, as well as answer their questions.  It's been a thought in the back of my head that if there's someone who needs me in jail, and that's where I'm supposed to be, then I'm ready to accept that.  That thought actually came spilling out of my mouth as a I talked to a friend recently, but after my dream, even though it wasn't scary or what I picture jail being like, I don't want to go.  I don't want to accept that.  And it kind of makes me feel guilty in a strange way to not accept it.  Do you think that it's selfish of me to want to stay at home and raise my family and enjoy my kids laughter and lay down in bed every night with my husband?  I so, whole-heartedly, want to do what Heavenly Father wants me to do, but I don't want to go to jail.  I've been kind of afraid to say it.  But I need to find a way to plead with Him. 

Up until now, I thought that was a great thing to be a 'choice daughter' of Heavenly Father.  I loved knowing that God believes me to be a choice daughter - it's easy to just accept it.  But I realized this week that it doesn't come easy.  Being a choice daughter doesn't just happen.  I must prove that I am.  By my faith in trials, by my strength for others, by my example to those around me, I must BE a choice daughter.  He knows me.  HE knows me.  He knew me before I came to this earth.  He knew the choices I made before this life.  He prepared me from an early age to be the kind of woman He knew I could be.  And when the conditions were just right, He sent me the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He armed me with all the tools and armor I would need to withstand Satan's firey darts.  He hand-picked trials for me that He knew I could withstand.  And then, and only then, did He send me out to battle.

The miracle in it all is that I am no different than the next person.  The crabby lady behind me at the checkout stand is also a daughter of God.  Does she know her worth?  Her potential?  Her divine purpose?  Can she feel His influence in her life?  Does she know of the confidence He has in her to endure whatever is making her grumpy?  

 I looked at a picture today of me holding my second baby when he was about 2 months old, about the same age Bryer was when this all started.  I looked at the woman I was at that point in time.  Not someone who could have withstood this trial I have now to go up against. 

I have had small trials of faith in my life.  Miscarriages.  Remodeling woes.  Frequent moving.  Minor sickness.  Maybe there were times I lost patience with my kids or I snapped at Jason, but we have never faced anything that was so much that we couldn't overcome with an eternal perspective.  And so I suppose this is the same. 

It's not something I would have picked, but I can't imagine getting to where I am without it. When I look at some of my prime examples of faithful women in the gospel - real life, Christ-centered women in my area, I realize that they have all been through a life-changed experience of one kind or another.  Losing a spouse or child, life-threatening illness, traumatic events.  I feel honored to stand with them, to bear witness that He loves us and never, EVER leaves us.  As hard as it is to watch a child learn something new - a toddler learning to walk or a child learn to ride a bike - in order to stretch and grow, so it is for Him to watch us.  I plan to live up to being a choice daughter of my Heavenly Father.

November 4, 2011

Bryer's physical therapist brought both stress and relief this week.  The stress came as she introduced what she called a 'standing frame.'  She said after Bryer's hip x-ray that she should be weight bearing on her legs to help her ball and socket joint form correctly.  Normally babies would be rocking on hands and knees, crawling, standing, and maybe walking by this point so that joint would naturally form.  From the looks of the x-ray she's considered to have a 'hip at risk.'  Then she brought in the contraption she wanted me to put Bryer in every day.  I had a flashback of the 'therapy board' I saw the boy strapped to on the website when I researched kids with SBS, being forced to stand.  That boy was emotionless and contorted - not 'checked in' like Bryer.  I accepted the P.T.'s help to show me how to put her in, but I struggle emotionally to put her in it myself now.  I don't want to think of my baby that way.  She's fun and giggly and responds to us, however uncooperative her body is for movement.  She is not that boy I saw on the computer screen. 


The P.T. also brought relief.  She asked if any of the doctors or other therapists had mentioned the term Cerebral Palsy.  No one had.  She said Bryer would probably diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  I'm not one for labeling or diagnosing, but any other term to google than SBS was a relief!  That I could handle!  Plus, her orthopedist had mentioned the range of kids he works with - everything from severe and non-responsive to a high school track athlete that pulls his right arm up when he really concentrates on running fast - fully functioning, except a tight arm when there's a lot of running intention.  Those were 2 extremes of the spectrum of cerebral palsy.  Bryer could be anywhere in between. 

Nov. 9, 2011
I have been placed on a 'registry' with Health and Welfare.  We are fighting it, obviously, but it's just one more thing to stack on my plate.  We had our hearing with Health and Welfare today.  It was a call-in hearing so we (Jason, my attorney, and I) gathered around a table at my attorney's office and listened on speaker phone to a prosecutor in another city and the hearing officer in a city across the state.  We had to have all the 'evidence' in weeks ago, although it's hard to provide evidence for something that we don't know what happened.  They used the case worker for Health and Welfare that took our case from the beginning, as well as the person that did Bryer's initial developmental evaluation when she was in foster care.  Makes me sick that they continue to have access to Bryer's file.  The evaluator talked as though she knows Bryer currently and said she is making minimal progress, still is not sitting, standing, or walking.

We also heard from the child abuse doctor, who said some bogus things - like Bryer having a pump to drain fluid from her brain in the hospital.  Not so.  We will be able to use the recording in the criminal trial.  He also said a couple other things that were way off - like he hadn't even looked at her chart.  It's sad that he has to deal with that many cases that he can't keep them straight. 

We heard all the prosecutor's evidence and then my attorney was going to start on the defense stuff.  He stated I had criminal charges pending and didn't feel like I could testify now for the hearing, as it's recorded and he wasn't ready for that.  However, it's my right to a fair hearing, so if he wants me to testify, I should be able to.  So we put the hearing on hold for now.  We also left it open for more evidence (ie. the outcome of the criminal trial).  That, in itself, is a blessing, because we didn't really have a case otherwise without calling in expert witnesses.  And the deadline for evidence was weeks ago. 
 
All we have is a stack of recommendation letters from individuals that know me.  As wonderful as it is to read all the good things they have to say about me, the simple truth is that not one of them was in that room with Bryer on the day she stopped breathing.  If we had gone ahead with the hearing and it didn't go our way, we could petition it and take it to district court, but we have to use only the evidence that was previously submitted.  We can't submit anything new, is my understanding.  So, it's a blessing the exact way it has worked out so far, with the option to bring in new evidence at some point.  Heaven is helping and we can see it.  Thank you God. 

Nov. 11, 2011
Bryer's occupational therapist (O.T.) came today.  I asked her about who sits at the table during staff meetings when they discuss the kiddos they serve.  She mentioned these 2 women's names that were on the call-in hearing.  Makes me sick to think those 2 are aloud to discuss Bryer's progress and hear how she is doing.  As a Mom, I protect.  I want nothing but the best for my children.  Each one of them individually and as a whole family.  When they struggle, I struggle.  I feel for them and want to help make their weaknesses a strength.  I see each one of them individually and try to see them how Heavenly Father sees them - as a miracle.  Bryer is no different.  She is clearly a miracle to us and exactly how Heavenly Father would have her.  Yet these ladies exploit Bryer's weaknesses - her life-long trial, and magnify it to use against me.  Me - the one trying to help Bryer turn her weakness into her strength.

Bryer's O.T. related how she felt as she read through our file for the first time.  She was glad she had a good 2 weeks to adjust and gear up for our first meeting.  All she knew what was on paper - abuse, fracture, brain bleeding, SBS...  And then she met us.  It didn't make sense and she had doubts from the beginning.  I wanted at that time to go with my husband, to take our 5 kids, and protect them from another intruder into our life.  But instead I was forced to do the opposite - to stand out there, feeling bare naked, and face the very people that suspect me, to bare all and be the core person I am and try to help my baby recover, protect her, help my kids feel 'normal' in the most basic sence, and stand as one with my husband to this worldly trial.  I think Bryer's O.T. was confused for a while.  And now we mesh so well.  She has been such a huge advocate and blessing to our whole family, and especially to Bryer.   

I asked her what the options are about continuing services with her.  If we continue with the Infant/Toddler program we run the risk of these 2 ladies having access to Bryer's file.  If we don't continue, we run the risk of them thinking we are bad parents by denying our child services.  In a 'normal' criminal trial, the witnesses for the prosecution would never continue to have a working relationship with the defense.  But I'm reminded again that "We're dealing with the legal, not the logical."  In the meantime, I continue to go to doctors appointments with specialists that I know will testify against me.  To gather my strength and courage before each appointment, I listen to my new Hilary Weeks CD.  'Past the Point' has played dozens of times on repeat during my long 2 hour road trip to appointments to these specialists. 

(This You Tube video isn't the whole song, but you'll get the idea.  Here is my shameless plug for the Hilary Weeks CD 'Every Step.'  Every single woman out there needs this CD!  *And maybe some men too.*  I have given nearly a dozen away to friends just for that reason!) 

  


Nov. 16, 2011
Bryer had an appt with her neurologist today.  As he walked in, I could tell he was on edge.  Reserved.  Didn't want to be there.  Obvious.  Very obvious.  And so as I have learned to do in all appointments, I have to set my precedence again about what kind of mom I am.  The Dr. looks over the file, sees the initial injury, and comes in either trying to protect my baby from me, trying to withdraw from the situation as a whole, or ready to be confrontational.  It has taken me nearly a year to not let it bother me.  I go in with my usual list of questions, comment in detail of her development and use vocabulary that shows I know what I'm talking about - that I spend time worrying and researching and working with my baby to give her the best chance possible. 



As the Dr. came in, he asked if she was having any seizures.  No, still none - not since the hospital, although they kept her on seizure meds for 6 months after that anyway.  He questioned what therapies she was getting.  PT and OT every other week.  And then I saw him doodle on his paper a little, going back over the marks he had already made, as he fumbled for the next question.  And then, "Well, I guess this is shaping up to be a very short appointment."  I didn't just drive 2 hours to answer 2 questions and be done.  So, I started in on my list...

"How do you feel about doing another scan?"  All the scan will show is the scarring from previous injury.  Yes, we may be able to look and see which areas are affected, but that is apparent anyway in her recovery and therapy.  He mentioned complex language development being compromised, but I don't know if he was throwing that out there as a possible area that could be affected or if he was seeing something I wasn't.  I did report previously that she babbles mamamama, dadadada, and hi, on a good day.  I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's not being negative about her language progress. 

"What do you know about hyperbaric oxygen therapy?"  There's not much evidence that they work.  I tell my patients to be careful with their money.  There are people out there that are willing to take their money and I don't think it works how they expect it to.  (As opposed to him, who takes money for asking 2 questions and expecting to call it a short appointment?) 

"What are the pros and cons of alternative meds and what are the options?"  Rx for baclofen or Botox injections.  Pros - paralyzes the muscle; interrupts the messages between the brain and muscle; Cons - the pain of the actual shot, the fact that it's a toxin injected into the body.  It wears off and she could become immune to it's effects. 

"What should I be expecting from therapy/orthopedics/other doctors?"  A good PT will know when to call in specialists to discuss Botox injections or other meds.  It's mostly if tone and spasticity is getting in the way of normal development.  (She can't tripod while sitting, as her arms are too stiff to her body.)  Talk to your husband about it and see if that's something you want a referral for.  Therapies will be the best for her at this point. 

"If seizures return, will they be appearant or is there such a thing as seizures that we can't see like she had in the hospital?"  More than likely she will have a grand mal seizure or twitching of the arms, legs, or a body part.  If she's zoned out and nonresponsive, it could be a seizure.  Shaking her, even hanging her upside down would not bring her out of it.  (Is that a strange thing to say to a mom that's been accused of "Shaken Baby Syndrome"?  Maybe by now he's forgotten the diagnosis and willing to take me for who I am. 

Mission accomplished.  See you back in 6 months. 
 
Nov. 19, 2011

My sister-in-law came for Halloween.  She noticed the stress I was under with an upcoming trial, the time it took caring for Bryer, and the needs of the rest of the kids. She enlisted the help of the rest of the family to come to my rescue.  A rescue I didn't even know I needed.  We were functioning.  I was making the most of the time I had with my kids.  So when it came time for dinner and I hadn't taken time to prepare (because I had been coloring, painting, or reading with them), it didn't go as smoothly as it once had.  It wasn't a stressful time for me, but I was more frustrated with myself that I hadn't planned better - but then planning takes time.  And time is so valuable to me right now.  You can't get time back with your children.  There's only 1 lunchtime on November 19, 2011.  If you miss the chance to have fun, make it memorable, try something new, enjoy, then it's gone.  There will never be another.  So we have read books.  More than normal and with more expression than ever.  We have painted.  More than usual and sometimes more messy than we would have otherwise.  We have played with our food and made faces out of it and learned about food groups.  We have let the dishes sit in the sink because wrestling and tickling were simply more important.  I have to prepare for the possibility that I won't be here.  It's like someone with cancer.  Of course you want and hope and pray to overcome it.  But there's always that possibility that you just won't.  As much as I want to turn my head and have an eye of faith, there's the possibility that Heavenly Father has other plans for me. 

A few days after Halloween, my sister-in-law sent me an email. 

She wrote:
Since I was up visiting you on Halloween, I can't stop thinking about helping you.  Our family would like to help you and Jay.  We know that you will be busy with a trial and all that involves, plus holding onto your sanity, plus caring for your children.  If you could tell us, like you tell Heavenly Father, what you need, we could fill in the gaps.  Call it your "Wish List"  What would you wish for that would make your life easier?  Here is a list of ideas that we thought might help.  Say the word and I will get it done, me or someone else.

 1) A month's worth of freezer dinners for the family. All you have to do is put it in the oven.


2) 6 months worth of paper plates, cups and silverware to cut down on the work load.  I could get you some bowls, cups, plates, etc. if you don't want paper.

3) Maid for a day--One day a week Berv, Cinda, Cindy, Dena, Emily, (anyone else who wants to) can show up, clean, cook, take kids to activities, etc. to free you up to do whatever you need--like NAP! :-)

4) 3 months worth of Byer food done up ahead and in the freezer so there's minimal preparation when you have a hungry baby!

5) Renovate the laundry room? Get a folding table, separate laundry baskets for each kid so they can help with the organization of it? Bins for folded clothes? You mentioned a central clothes closet.

6) A living room rug, so you don't have to change Bryer on a piece of carpet.  Do you need a couch for downstairs?

7) Help for a week--Berv can come and stay and bake bread, cookies, do laundry, hold Bryer, etc. It would be wonderful!

8) Of course decorate the house for Christmas! There's nothing like Christmas lights to welcome you home! We have lots of those!
 
9) Clean up anything that is bothering you.  Get the outside ready for winter. 
 
10)  Think stream-line.  You mentioned hanging the magnet board, what about shoes and coats?  What about the kitchen cabinets and organization spots, like for the library books.  Anything like that, that we could fix up to help?  What do you walk by everyday and say, "I wish I could get to that?"  I have lots of those, so I know you must too.  Please be free in saying what you would like....if you don't then I will probably just take over anyway, so this way you could get what you really need!


I was so incredibly touched that I bawled when I read.  And re-read.  And read again what she was offering.  I responded...  And then the miracles happened... 

Who couldn't resist a good trial to bring out the best in a family?  I have been upheld, supported, and blessed more than I know what to do with.  I didn't know i needed rescued.  I was making my time count with my kids, and unfortunately I hadn't planned well for the everyday temporal needs of food, laundry, dishes, etc.  Pumpkins and painting and playing was just more important.  When time is limited, the priorities take care of themselves.  The rest will get done if there's time left over.  And that's exactly what my sister-in-law saw.  She saw that I was drowning in temporal needs because I was so focused on the eternal needs of my children.  But they still have to eat and have clean clothes to wear.  So she intervened.

As I sit here in my quiet house tonight with all the kids asleep, I smell pine in the boughs above my cupboards, dotted with Christmas lights.  My Christmas tree is up and fully decorated.  In 8 years, I never wanted to get all the ornaments out of the individual boxes.  It took too much time.  But I was missing out.  The kids were so excited to hear the next ornament - of what they were into when they were 3 or 5 or 9.  It's a blessing to share those memories.  I love bringing out the stockings and seeing them get excited for our family tradition to see what they hid in them the year before when we packed them away.  (And by the way, because of the state we were in last year, they didn't put anything in them, so I had to add candy to them when I got them out.) 


And then Jason's aunt came.  Oh did she come!  She brought with her a couch and a rug and energy and time and love.  She made cookies with Piper and held Bryer and decorated and cleaned and organized and bought things I never knew I needed but now cannot live without.  She and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law created spaces in our house to make things run more smoothly for when they are gone.  I now have a chair to nurse downstairs, an area that is comfortable for people to visit downstairs without having to go upstairs where our family room is, and an efficient eating area to feed my family spiritual food.  I have a laundry room that has been made-over to run more smoothly.  We have a system now.  No nagging.  My sister-in-law made me a job system using a few tips I had on how I wanted it to run.  The kids love it.  Did I mention no nagging? 

Jason's Dad, brother, and uncle worked today with Jason to put trim all around upstairs and most of the downstairs so we can get ready for the appraiser to come in preparation for our re-finance, as we need money for our attorney.  Jason's uncle is working with a cut finger from a couple days ago that had to have several stitches put in, but that hasn't slowed him down from helping.  Each of these family members have their own 'stuff' going on, but have put their own lives on pause to help. 

My other sister-in-law brought me baby food.  Homemade baby food with child-like writing from my nieces of what's in the freezer bags.  The handwriting alone made me cry.  I can just picture them working together with the mess and time it takes to cook, puree, and bag up baby food, all while they have 3 little boys running around.  Store bought baby food would be fine, but I have tried hard to give Bryer the very best nutrients from the homemade good stuff to help feed her brain.  They went above and beyond to stock pile 3+ months of food for her, the way I would do it if I had the time.   

My side of the family stockpiled us with paper products to cut down on dishes and diapers for Bryer to help us save funds for the attorney.  To also help us save money, extended family members gave us laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, paper towels, and every day necessity items.

There are 2 freezer shelves filled with freezer meals.  And 2 more freezer shelves of homemade bread from a lady in another state that just heard about us and wanted to help.  18 loaves of homemade, delicious wheat bread!  (Do you know how long it takes to make 18 loaves?!  I know because it took me a whole year to perfect a loaf of bread!)  And now there's a place for wet snow clothes.  And dry snow clothes.  And a place to dry mittens and hats.  They should all finish up their 4th and last day of work here tomorrow.

My sister-in-law gave me the new Hilary Weeks CD, her book, and another CD.  In the note she said, "I know she speaks the way your heart understands."  I cannot believe how blessed I am to have the support I have.  And I am so indebted.  To these family members.  To my Heavenly Father.  To my Savior, Jesus Christ.  They are doing exactly what He would if He were here.  I am so incredibly thankful to those that saw I needed time to take a breath when I couldn't even tell I was drowning.  Like the scriptures say to 'Bear one another's burdens,' I feel the power of Heaven working through these people I am lucky enough to call family.  Sometimes it's easier to not put ourselves out there emotionally when someone else is in pain or struggling.  Like if we don't see it, then it's not happening.  I am so thankful for those that stick by me and continue to feel what I'm feeling and help in ways I can't help myself!  True, Christ-like service!  The phrase 'What Would Jesus Do?' is not just for when things are good or easy or basic.  I've learned it's especially for the times when someone around us is hurting or enduring a trial. 

Makes me want to say, "Trial?  What trial?!"  But it's there.  Always in the back of my head.  And I pray for Heaven's divine help.  Like parting the Red Sea or feeding the crowd with a few fish and loaves of bread - I need Heaven's help. 

 
 
Nov 21, 2011
As I got geared up for our hearing today, I had been dressed for court, except for my t-shirt I threw on so I wouldn't get baby snot on it before it was time to go.  As I finished getting dressed, I realized it was my 1/2 marathon t-shirt that I had thrown on.  Appropriate.  And gave me confidence.  Kind of like natural childbirth.  When you hit that wall and you don't know how you'll ever get over it - and then you do.  Similar to the words in the Hilary Weeks song, Beautiful Heartbreak.  "There's a mountain in my path with no way around it, so brokenhearted I started climbing." 

So, ready and confident to stand up for myself, I changed from my 1/2 marathon shirt and into my court attire.  Switching shirts I thought, standing up for myself is not something that comes easy to me.  If it weren't for my sweet husband, I would have been in for it a long time ago.  He has taken over, held me when I needed to cry, made contact with attorneys, doctors, health and welfare workers, many of the contacts I could not have made myself, while I get things figured out in my head and take care of our 5 precious kids. 

One of the things the PICU doctor said early on was, "This can happen to anyone.  This goes beyond races, social classes, and genders.  Anyone can just snap."  And when he said that, I was at a point I couldn't stand up for myself.  The doctors were saying there was no other way.  The police said there was no other way.  Health and Welfare took my children.  I am an honest person, being hung out to dry.  I have come to realize and know for myself, that between me and God, nothing else matters but the truth.  I will embrace it and have the courage it takes to stand it out.  I will "stand as a witness at all times and in all things and in all places."  I will. 

So, as I prepared for court, I was ready with confidence.  I nursed Bryer before I left.  As I sat and fed her, I wondered if this was one of the last times I would nurse her.  There was a chance I could be arrested.  Strangely, I felt calm.  Like Joseph Smith said as he knew he would be martyred - he felt as a lamb going to slaughter, yet felt as calm as a summer's morning.  There's a huge comfort in a clear conscience. 

In times of stress, I have felt that it's easier for me to deal with things around people.  Unusual for me since I'm normally an introvert.  I think it came from being 'watched' 24/7 while we were going through our whole ordeal.  It's easier to be in public or around people, especially when Bryer is crying, like I have to prove that I can handle a crying baby.  She wasn't even crying that day when I layed her down, but all the doctors said that's what HAD to happen.  They all think it's a violent thing.  A loss of patience.  After what I've been endured mentally and physically, I can honestly say IMPOSSIBLE!  Whole-heartedly, 100%, with a capitol I - Impossible for me to 'just snap.'

I am so thankful for the eternal plan of salvation.  I am thankful for a big picture view of things.  If I can keep that frame of mind, I'm a lot better off.  It's when I get caught up in this worldly, day-to-day, court stuff that I start worrying a little.  I wonder if those in the scriptures found themselves on that fence or if they just kept their eyes pointed at eternity. 

When my Mom came to keep kids before our hearing, she brough me a polka dot umbrella.  I was so thankful and it made me teary.  She found it at the $1 store.  It was all by itself, the last one.  Meant for me.  The song Bryer and I dance to is "Dancing in the Rain" on the new Hilary Weeks CD.  We dance when she's happy and when she's sad.  We dance in the kitchen and up the stairs.  She loves music and movement, and no matter how heavy her little body is getting, it's worth it to dance.  For my spirit and hers.  The song talks about finding joy in the trials and enjoying every minute of life.  Dance in the rain.  And thank the rain for coming.  That's how we grow - through trials and being tested. 



We got to the courtroom and it seemed cold to me and brought stress to my body.  I'm at peace, but in a stressful situation.  I don't like being seperated from my kids.  And once we were ready to sit at the front of the courtroom, this was the first time I had to be seperated from Jason too.  It was the first time I couldn't have him hold my hand and sit by my side.  A scary thought.  Yet I know that in my preparation in the near year we've been fighting this, I can stand for myself with his support nearby.  It doesn't mean that I wouldn't prefer him to be at my side, but I can temporarily stand.  And I never stand alone. 

I took my place at a big table with a sign titled, "Defense."  There were other people in the room waiting for their turn also.  Court was short.  The judge didn't even have me enter my plea of Innocent, as we thought he would.  They set a time for a future court date, of Dec. 1 at 9:30 a.m. and then the judge asked the prosecutor if I could continue on my own recognizance - basically asking if I was okay 'on the loose' still.  She said that would be fine, so they didn't arrest me.  Back home to my sweet family to dance in the rain some more! 



 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

#26 - The Start of a New Chapter (Journal Entries Through October 2011)

Well, it was bound to happen.  After feeling so uplifted and prayed for from our little town, our extended family, out-of-state friends, and even people we don't even know, we got an anonymous letter in the mail from someone local that's not supportive.  In fact 'he' accused us not only of hurting our baby girl, but also taking advantage of the situation.  'He' continued with how we should not let Bryer receive therapy services through the Infant Toddler Program when it was 'our fault' that she was in the state she is in to begin with.  'He' was angry that we had 'gotten away' with this.   The letter goes on and on, but I'm not wasting my time on it.

When I first read it, I have to say I was hurt.  There were tears.  Jason was stronger and didn't give it as much thought as I did.  As much as I didn't want to worry about what someone thought of me, I let it matter.   We have had so much community support, but I knew that there were probably those that either didn't know the whole story or had given in to small town gossip.  I have to say that I can't blame them.  If I were them, I would struggle with the opinions of the doctors too.  Those that know me, well, they know me.  Those that don't, I have come to now know, don't really matter.  Now that I've let my emotions settle, I feel extremely sad for the person who wrote it.  He has taken his judgements so far as to spend the time in negativity to write to us in an  anonymous letter instead of coming to us.  I have nothing to hide.  I'm an open book - about that day, about Bryer, about the process we have been through.  Most people don't ask, but I don't suppose I would either if I were on the other side.  If I could, I'd welcome a crowd to be in that room with me on that day.  But honestly, those that want to gossip, will do just that.  Those that matter wouldn't need to be in that room.  They already know. 

Oct 19, 2011
After being down for 4 days sick, I have had time to think.  Time to work things out in my head.  Stress.  Grief.  Lack of rest.  Accept some things that I hadn't been ready to accept.  Not everyone is supportive.  That's okay with me.  I would love to please everyone all of the time, but it's just not possible.  I will be who I am and for those that matter, it will be good enough.  I have known for a long time that Bryer's spirituality and the effect she has on people is exactly how it should be. 

However, it has been harder for me to accept where she's at in her recovery, especially nearing and celebrating her 1 year birthday.  When do we cross over from 'recovery phase' to 'this is how it is'?  Our lives and our future are so completely different than they were a year ago, or even 10 months ago.  While sometimes I'd like to go back and change it all back to how we were, I know the growth we have endured and embraced has all been for a reason.  I'm not ready to say 'worth it,' but definately for a reason.  Eventually I hope to get to a point that I can say it was all worth it.  It may not be in this life that I see it come full circle. 

After family pictures this month, I lined up our picture from last year next to our picture from this year and can physically see the growth our family has endured together.  We are not only intact, but we are happy and growing together even stronger than before.  That's what this life is made of. 


October 2010
     
October 2011


When I look at one of my babies, new and clean, I wonder what God has in store for him/her.  What will they be when they grow up?  What strengths will they have?  What weaknesses will they work on?  Which of mine and Jason's traits will they take on?  Looking at Bryer as a newborn, (I won't lie) I felt like this was my chance at a softball player.  Piper is our girly girl and into glitter and baby dolls, so I figured Bryer would be athletic.  After all, having two parents that played collegiate sports have to rub off somewhere, right?  Even in utero she was a fighter, a kicker, a rib puncher.  But over the past 4 days of letting my body heal from being sick and being able to think, I have had to let all those ideas and hopes go.  It was painful and liberating at the same time.  Painful to think that maybe neither of my girls will follow in my footsteps.  Painful to give up those hopes of coaching them on a softball diamond.  Painful to know that the things I hoped for them may never be the way I had planned out in my mind.  It was liberating also to let all those things go.  Not to hold on to those expectations anymore.  To let God's plan fall into place for them instead of my plan for them.  Maybe all those skills Bryer showed in utero were those fighting skills she'd need just to stay alive - not to dive after ground balls.  I'm okay with that now, although it's been a process. 

I was content.  In a happy place. 

Then Jason went to re-new his drivers licence and happened to talk with the sherriff, not unusual in a small town like ours.  He informed Jason that the criminal case had been transfered to a bigger county prosecutor.  Now they can do with it what they want.  They will decide if charges should be filed.  So, now all over again, I have stress and things weighing on my mind.  I want to trust the Lord that this is the way it is supposed to be and everything will work out.  I did turn all this over to Him, right?  It's a blessing that this piece of it wasn't going on at the same time as everything else.  THAT may have been more than I could handle.

Note:  Usually Child Protective Services will step in at or close to the same time as criminal charges.  I feel strongly that those 2 things happening at the same time would have been too much for me to handle.  God gave us what we could deal with, on His timing.  As we have learned through this process, this alone was a miracle and a tender mercy from the Lord!   

Since then I feel like I've reverted a little on my anxiety level.  There are lots of questions going through my head - Will I be arrested?  Will there be a trial?  Will there be a jury?  Will our attorney be able to put an end to all of this?  Will a positive polygraph matter?  Plus Jason left to go hunting (I completely understand that he needs a break and time away also), but that doesn't help.  Back to laying Bryer down for a nap and then check all the corners in our room and under the bed and in the bathroom to make sure no one is in there with her before I lock her door on my way out.  My mind knows there's no one in there, but my conscience just wants to KNOW that I left my baby where it is safe.  Wierd things that go through my mind.  My heart also skips a beat if I go in and the blanket is over her head or she is breathing shallow.  It's just mind games, but I wish I could get rid of them.  It's a very conscience thing for me to turn those anxieties over to the Lord, and not 'pull it back out of his pocket' after I've given it to Him. 

I just want to have the peaceful, easy feeling that I've had with all my kids up until last year.  If something happened, it was an accident.  Kids fall off their bikes.  They skin their knees.  They pinch their fingers in doors.  They try silly experiments that even require stitches.  I snuggled them until they felt better or gave them a kiss on their owie.  In the case of my active boys, they get stitched up, they ice it, and go home.  There's no 'proving' I didn't hurt my child.  No life or death.  Natural consequences.  No freak out or worry about a cut on a head or finger.  Or worse - my kids being taken away.  Just fix it and move on.  Now I worry about every fall off their bike, trip when they run, a high fever, slammed fingers in the door.  The questions run through my head - Was Bryer active enough before she went to sleep?  Was she overly tired or fussy for a reason?  All the things I second guess because we still don't know what happened. 
 
Friday, Oct. 21

Jason came back through the office to find me in the kitchen and told me an officer was here to see me.  I dried my hands off and introduced myself and confirmed I was who he was looking for.  He handed me a set of legal documents stating that criminal charges have been filed.  Felony injury to child. 

My stomach dropped.  I instantly became sick.  The case has obviously been passed down to the bigger county prosecutor because our prosecutor feels unfit to try our case.  In my opinion he only takes cases that he can enter into a plea bargain with.  I will be honest through and through.  Not easy, but I will stand for truth and rightousness.  I used to teach the 12 and 13 year olds when Jason and I lived up north.  After saying our theme each Sunday, we'd say, "Stand for truth and righteousness."  Isn't that what I am being tested with now?  Standing for truth?  It echos in my mind.  It's not the easy way by any means.  In fact, if I were looking for an easy way out, I would lie and probably get a shorter sentence/community service/parole.  However, I am held accountable to God for the choices I make in this life.  To God!  No matter how hard.  No matter the consequences. 

Oct. 24, 2011

I watched a video with Joseph B. Worthlin called "Come What May and Love It." 



He said the tears shed today by the faithful that have had something taken from them will be repaid 100 fold.  I have to count on that and have faith in the eternal plan of salvation.  It makes my heart hurt to think "What if?"  I left church yesterday and felt so good, so supported, so full of spunk for another week.  And later Sunday evening I started reading articles about other people tried - and convicted - of SBS cases.  Now they sit in jail.  Seriously in JAIL! 

Makes me sick to think I could miss Piper's first day of school or Hunter receiving the priesthood or Bryer's first steps or Sawyr's first basketball game or Walker's first time mutton busting.  Makes me absolutely sick to my stomach.  Makes me sick to think of Jason, my sweet, supportive, enduring husband, having to single parent all by himself.  And then I wonder where my faith is.  If we do all that we can do, then God will make up the rest.  Right?  Isn't that what faith is?  God surely would not want me to spend time in jail.  Would He?  I hope and pray that it means I don't spend time in jail.  But if I do, could it be part of God's plan?  Would He ever have a plan for me to spend time in jail?  It's rough.  And confusing.  It's the hardest thing I have ever, ever, ever had to go through, but I feel God's hand and the comfort it brings.  And for that I am thankful and will continue to sleep peacefully, relying on that. 
 
Oct. 26, 2011
Jason made it clear to attorney today that we WILL NOT except a plea bargain.  We will battle it out to the end, no matter what that is.  We're fighting, 100% honest, and have the Lord on our side.  Liberating.  The truth will set you free - right?!  Innoscent until proved guilty?  Obviously not by Health and Welfare standards.  Not by some comments I have read on other stories in the news.  I don't care.  I am accountable to God alone.  No matter what happens in this life.  No matter what.  There is a bigger picture here.  Not just this life right now, but after we die. 

*****

I received two plates of goodies this week.  They were more than just treats for my sweet tooth...  Nice gestures that brought encouragement...  Empowerment to do the right thing...  I'm so thankful for those that support me.  I find myself relating to Job in the Bible.  He had everything taken from him - his land, his animals, his friends, his children, his wife.  He didn't have people that were praying for him or people that brought goodies by to let him know they were thinking of him.  He was alone, but still had faith.   

Also heard a beautiful song by Hillary Weeks today.  A good friend put it on my Facebook wall and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time.  I needed this today!  Beautiful Heartbreak, I think it is called. 

It's bedtime.  Bryer is crying.  Satellite training tomorrow on visually impared babies/kids.  Getting my rest is so hard to do and fit everything in within the day.  I'm so thankful for a supportive husband who does all the work I don't want to do, but desperately needs to be done - research, phone calls, approaching people, etc. 
 
 
 
 
 
Oct. 29, 2011
I am a naturally a postive person.  It takes a lot to get me emotional or for me to 'grrrr' at my kids.  It's usually something like spilled cereal on top of juice on my cleanly mopped floor, and then a toddler than decides to poop on the carpet, and then kids in front of the TV for way too long, and then a messy house that I just cleaned and a couple of whinney preschoolers to top it off.  And then I want to grrrrrr....  I love my children, but to have the patience that I need with them, I need to get away sometimes.  Breath in some air.  I think most moms would say they are better moms once they have had a break and had some mom-time.  But in the situation we're in, I feel like I am scrutinized for feeling like that.  I'm in a 'fish bowl' as my college softball coach used to tell us.  Everyone is watching and looking.  It's made me look at myself and see who and how much I critique others without even realizing it.  It's judging.  No way around it.  It's part of the 'natural man' way of thinking because we are human.  I'm working hard to put off the natural man, to take the Lord's way.  Be compassionate.  Understanding.  Give people the benefit of the doubt.  And then I look back and see the trials we've been through and see the humbling experience it's been that I didn't even know I needed.  How could I get to this point of realizing details about myself that needed refining without this experience?

*****

I took a second polygraph test.  Jason found him after calling around so many places over 3 different states.  He had almost given up when he got a call back from a certain poligrapher with very high credentials.  He is going to law school, but in the process is a trainer for many of the polygraphers in the area.  The list of credentials he holds all checked out legit, so we booked an appointment. 

I told Jason and didn't want anyone to know about this new polygraph test.  I didn't want the pressure of people asking how I did or expecting an answer when we were done.  So, we packed up our kids and drove 4 hours to where his office is.  After introducing ourselves and some small talk, Jason took the kids to the park and to get ice cream while the polygrapher interviewed me, "On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most honest, how would you rate yourself prior to Bryer's accident?"  After some thought I responded with a 7.  There were times I didn't tell the whole truth about how many cookies were left for everyone to share or where I was in the process of getting back home or how much money something really cost.  Petty things I could have and should have been honest about.  Then he asked after Bryer's accident how honest have I been.  I thought about it hard and responded with a 9.  Now I felt guilty about skipping a couple pages when I read to my kids from a long book I didn't really like.  I find myself going to great lengths to be completely honest in everything I do. 

He also asked who the single most important person in my life was.  I said my husband.  He marked that down and said that was interesting.  (He later told me that not many people say their spouse, and that it was a very positive sign to have a relationship in the right direction.) 

He went into an in-depth interview about me, my relationships, childhood, parents, siblings, extended family, any of the times I was not honest with any of these people, past traffic tickets, anything I needed to clear off my chest, and details about the day Bryer stopped breathing.  The interview took over an hour - much longer than the one I took before my polygraph at the police station.  He seemed much more thorough and in-depth with his questions. 

When we both felt I was ready he hooked me up to all the testing instruments...  The chair pad to sense movement, the blood pressure cuff, the spring around my chest to measure my breath, the palm sensor to measure sweaty palms.  It was all too familiar as to the one I took at the police station.  He then did a test to see if he had it all calibrated right.  That was something the police station never did.  He held out 5 cards in front of me, face down, and asked me to take 1 of them, but not to show him what it was.  He asked me to look at the card, remember what it was, and then put it away so no one could see it.  He said he would ask me a series of questions, in which I was to answer 'no' to all of - even when he got to the question of asking if my card was the number 5, I was to lie and say no. 

We proceeded just as he instructed.  When we were done with that part of the test, he told me that usually he had to repeat this part of the process a few times just to be sure, but that I was so obvious when I was lying that it showed perfectly and it proved the machine was calibrated the right way.  He proceeded with the rest of the polygraph.  He asked questions that we had discussed in the interview, including specific questions about that day - with nearly exactly the same wording as was at the police station. 

When he was done, he unhooked me from all the machines and calculated the results.  He said with his background and credentials, he believed me to be clear of all harm done.  I did not hurt my baby.  Maybe I should have felt a rush of relief, but I didn't.  I felt a steadiness - just a positive feeling that he knew what I knew.  It wasn't relief, because then there would have had to been a pressure there to begin with.  It was just the facts.  Clear and simple.  I am innocent.  Check it off my bucket list if nothing else.  (That sense of humor mentioned from "Come What May and Love It," right?) 

We learned a few things from this polygrapher.  With his credentials, he does a lot of the training for the police departments.  #1 - He said a polygraph should never be done with a post partum mother because of normally adjusting hormones after having a baby.  #2 - He said a polygraph should never be done around stressful times of the year such as the holidays.  #3 - He also said a polygraph should never be done during a time of trauma.  In short, the polygraph at the police station should have never been administered as a mother with a 2 month old baby, 2 days before Christmas, when I didn't know if my baby was going to live or die.  All 3 factors were a detriment to getting a clear reading, and as a result it had been falsely determined that I was being deceitful. 

Now that I'm cleared, one part of me wants to shout it from the roof tops.  Another part of me wants to be quiet about it - because those that know I am innocent have always known.  They, along with me, did not need a polygraph test to tell them so. 
 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

#25 - Sharing the Load (Journal Entries from September 2011)

Sept. 10, 2011

Maybe I have been completely nieve all my life.  Some people go through some stinkin' hard stuff and carry some anxiety from it.  Something similar to war vets that come home and have nightmares.  I have never known this feeling of anxiety, but naptime is becoming harder for me.  It's easier for me emotionally to carry her around, even when she's sleeping.  I don't like her being out of my reach, let alone out of my sight.  The question of what happened that day is in my thoughts a lot.  Sickness?  One of the other kids helping?  Even an intruder in the room has crossed my mind.  We leave our doors unlocked a lot of the time in this little town.  What if someone came in while we were gone to church?  It sounds crazy to me, so I know how it would sound to anyone else.  It's hard to protect Bryer if I don't know what happened in the first place.  I feel like if I can cover all my bases, then magically I can turn back the hands of time and prevent it.  Everytime I lay her down for a nap, I check the bathroom, attached to our room.  I check under the bed and closet and corners before leaving the room.  If it was an option that someone was in the room to hurt her, I don't want it to happen twice.  I still lock the door religiously when I leave her to nap, and often times carry the key around with me in my pocket, along with the baby monitor.  I'm not sure when that will change.  When will I be able to let go of this routine every time I lay her down?  I suppose maybe as our older kids get bigger and she is less fragile.  The anxiety of not knowing is enough to make me crazy if I let it.

Bryer has a lot of doctor and specialist appointments and at each one, I ask each doctor what I can be doing to help her - if she was his child, what would he do?  I can sense that they don't believe this could happen to them.  'They' would never find themselves in this position.  I have to look past their negative ideas and just be true to myself.  I have to go and ask questions for Bryer.  But there are no answers.  They say I am doing everything that can be done - which is basic therapy appointments.  We bring her to appointments, work with her therapists, and provide an environment that's stimulating to her and meets her needs.  But what else?  There has to be something else.  With our other kids if I had a question, there was always a website, a parenting book, a friend to answer my questions.  You name it, I could find and answer.  Potty training, sleeping through the night, discipline ideas, teaching them to share...  But no one has answers for Bryer.  Since the traditional doctors have not had any answers, we asked our good friend who is a chiropractor what he would do.  Like he had been waiting for us to ask, he didn't even hesitate and said, "Hyperbaric oxygen therapy."  So that's the direction my research has gone.  If we stop breathing, our brain is affected first.  In a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, it's basically delivering 100% oxygen to her at a compressed pressure, to help infuse into her brain cells, heal brain tissue, and possibly create more pathways.  It's not 'traditional medicine,' so it's not covered under insurance.  To buy one is $5000.  Trying to find a happy medium within our budget... And praying that if that's the way God would have us go, then He will help us make it available. 

One night I was researching hyperbaric oxygen therapy and had reached a stopping point.  Jason had gone to bed without me and I was curious about other kids in Bryer's circumstances.  What can they do?  How do they turn out?  Because I don't have any other term to go on, I just searched for SBS.  I came across a page dedicated to a whole list of babies and children.  There was a list of names on the left side to click on to read their story and see pictures of them. 

Now call it the Holy Ghost, the Light of Christ, my conscience, but when I came across this page, I felt a strong negative change, like a pit in my stomach.  It was a warning that what I was about to see, I should not click on.  But I needed answers.  I needed to know how my baby could be.  Would she cry all her life at a simple change in environment?  Would she ever talk?  Crawl?  Walk?  Would her eye sight increase?  I should have known by my feeling that this was not the place to find answers, but curiosity got the best of me.  I clicked on 4 different names before I couldn't look anymore.  A couple of them were memorial pages of sweet babies that had died, along with the story of their death and the one accused.  They showed pictures of them as infants, posing for pictures and smiling.  Two of the pages I clicked on had pictures of babies that had survived.  One picture showed a sweet boy strapped onto a 'therapy board' and forced to stand.  His eyes were glazed over, he had a blank expression, his arms were contorted and the story about how he became this way made me cry.  I turned off the computer and cried.  Was this what the doctors thought was Bryer's future?  Without any more answers than looking up SBS and misdiagnoses, I had nothing to go on, and I definitely did not want to be seeing anymore of what I just saw.  The stories I read about misdiagnoses were too familiar to mine.  These people had other ideas, things that should have raised red flags to the doctors, alternate explanations - yet they were sitting in prisons. 

As I sat there crying, I thought about those stories of these poor babies.  They were left in the hands of trusted adults - a babysitter, a boyfriend, a friend.  Could it be that these same people were also innocent?  I can't imagine how that pain felt for these moms of the babies - of trusting someone so much with my child, only to have the doctors tell me that that person did the unthinkable.  If I were on the other side, and I had left my baby with someone, would I also side with the doctors?  Were any of these cases just like mine?  A misdiagnoses?  And the grief these parents must live with - was it all based on the false medical opinion of trusted doctors? 

The ideas of misdiagnoses could consume my thoughts if I let it.  I have a family of 7 to care for, I don't have time for the anxiety it brings to think about doctors.  But every so often I catch myself zoning out, recalling every detail of that day.  What missing piece to the puzzle have I not remembered?  As I did dishes this week, I was thinking about all the possibilities and things I should look up later.  It was filling up my brain as I loaded the dishwasher mindlessly.  Jason came back from the office in the front part of our house and interrupted my thoughts, "Will you answer Walker?  He's been calling for you for 5 minutes."  I was so absorbed in my thoughts that I hadn't heard my 3 year old calling for me from the bathroom.  I felt embarrassed, selfish, self-absorbed.  Maybe it shouldn't have been that big of a deal, but I didn't want this 'thing' to run my life.  I didn't want to be so caught up trying to remember every detail of that day, looking for the magical puzzle piece, that it separated me from taking care of my family. 

I need to find a way to clear my mind.  I have to let this go.  In our state there is a 5 year time limit in which they could file criminal charges.  So I feel like somehow I'm supposed to hold on to all this for a time maybe I will need it.  It feels heavy - like baggage I suppose.  I've never felt that before. 

Later that week 2 experiences happened that brought me huge relief.... 

Experience #1 - I was re-reading some articles in a church magazine.  I came across one titled "The Atonement Covers All Pain" from our last church broadcast, by Kent F. Richards.  He started by saying,

"As a surgeon, I found that a significant portion of my professional time was taken up with the subject of pain. Of necessity I surgically inflicted it almost daily—and much of my effort was then spent trying to control and alleviate pain.
 
"I have pondered about the purpose of pain. None of us is immune from experiencing pain. I have seen people cope with it very differently. Some turn away from God in anger, and others allow their suffering to bring them closer to God.
 
"Like you, I have experienced pain myself. Pain is a gauge of the healing process. It often teaches us patience. Perhaps that is why we use the term patient in referring to the sick.
Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. … It is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.”

As soon as I read that, I realized that was ME!  He was telling me that this pain I felt in not getting answers had a purpose!  And like He referred to a 'patient' that was in pain, I also realized that I needed to BE 'patient.'  However badly I wanted answers for the past, needed answers about how to help Bryer, and needed to see into the future, I felt the strong feeling to just. be. patient. 

I went on to read something that hit me straight in my heart.  When I read it, I got goose bumps.  I felt this guy writing, Kent F. Richards, who I have never known, had written this just for me.  He said,

"Much of our suffering is not necessarily our fault. Unexpected events, contradicting or disappointing circumstances, interrupting illness, and even death surround us and penetrate our mortal experience. Additionally, we may suffer afflictions because of the actions of others.  Lehi noted that Jacob had “suffered … much sorrow, because of the rudeness of his brethren.” Opposition is part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. We all encounter enough to bring us to an awareness of our Father’s love and of our need for the Savior’s help.
 
"The Savior is not a silent observer. He Himself knows personally and infinitely the pain we face.
“He suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children.” (2 Nephi 9:21)

So if I was reading this right, GOD had allowed this to happen to help me grow closer to Him!  And not only had He allowed it, but He had put all the tools in place to help me get through it - including my Savior Jesus Christ - Him that knows exactly how my pain feels.  I don't know why some people get mad and turn away from God in their trials, but this is definitely a time I need Him more than ever.  I need His direction.  I need His answers.  Not from a website that leaves me crying at stories of other babies.  The answers to the very most important questions.  Why am I here and why am I going through this?!  He has loved me so much that He has allowed circumstances to happen to bring me closer to Him.  I don't think God makes bad things happen.  I do think he allows things to happen to better us. 

Experience #2 - We had a lesson from the Bible in Matthew.  We talked about what an oxen yoke is.  It secures 2 oxen together equally so they can share the load that they carry. 



Then we read these scriptures from Matthew, chapter 11....
28 ¶Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  This is me!  I am heavy laden, trying to remember all the details from that day that are weighing me down, looking for the missing piece.  I think about it so much, questioning what I read, trying to recall anything that would help solve this puzzle. 
 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  Ahhh, rest unto my soul.  That sounds so good right now.  I don't want my brain filled up.  I want to be the best wife and mom I need to be.  I want to be in the moment with my kids - not just a distracted shell of a person trying to find answers. 
 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. My YOKE is easy.  My BURDEN is light.  I have to comprehend what all this means. 

If I can find a way to harness myself to the healing power of my Savior, then He will help me carry this load.  I can choose to hand it all over to Him, or I can choose to carry it myself - for up to 5 years if I need to. 

A good friend of mine has a saying, "When you hand something over to the Lord, don't you steal it back out of His back pocket as He's walking away." 

It's so true!  So from this time forward, when I catch myself replaying that day in my head, I will choose to hand it over to Him to hold for safe keeping.  I will trust that if charges are filed than I will be able to recall those details when and if I need to.  When I want to stay up late researching things that I can't find answers to, I will choose to trust that He has those answers and will reveal them to me when He knows I am ready.  I will choose His way.  When I go into a doctor's office and know what they are thinking of me, I will picture myself going in with my Savior, all yoked up next to Him, helping to pull this load I carry with me.  When I want so bad to know what Bryer will be like in a year from now, 5 years from now, or as an adult, I will trust that she will be exactly how He would have her.  And even if that's not how I would like, I still have the hope that she'll be made perfect in the next life. 

I can tell you now, in current time, that I have felt that 'rest unto my soul' like it says in the scriptures.  I can see all those things that I worried so much about - and that the answers have come as He was ready for them to come.  In the meantime, I didn't let myself stress over the things I couldn't control.  It was good for my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.  It wasn't a one-time event to hand my worries over to my Savior.  It's something I still have to consciously do on a regular basis.

Sept. 13, 2011
My heart is heavy and I know a lot of it is just my emotions, but I worry.  We had my nephew's 1st birthday party Sunday and it just kind of hit me like a ton of bricks that Bryer is almost 1 - but she's not almost 1.  Our life was so different a year ago.  We were on cruise control.  We were expecting our 5th baby and life was so good.  Easy.  Hectic and fun and crazy and easy.  I enjoyed volunteering at my kids' school.  I liked doing things for our local library.  I loved getting projects ready for our county fair and working with my kids on their 4H projects. 

And then "this" swooped in, took me off my feet, dangled me upside down to shake all the pride out of my pockets, and then put me back down and expected me to take off running again like I always had. 

I had a conversation with Hunter this week.  This 10 year old said some things that really made me stop and think.  As I tucked him into bed, he asked about Bryer's eye sight.  He wanted to know what she could see and what she'll be able to see later.  I told him that we didn't really know.  She seems to recognize footsteps and voices better than faces.  I added that maybe God has given her this as a special protection.  He perked up in bed and said, "Ya Mom!  Maybe Bryer won't ever have to worry about seeing violence on TV or pornography or bloody things!"  I kind of laughed and agreed.  He layed back down and then spoke his thoughts outloud.  "Imagine how lucky Helen Keller was!  She never had to worry about any of that - and she also didn't have to worry about hearing bad words or people yelling or loud trucks or scary sounds on movies!"   I left his room, so thankful for my kids with such a strong understanding of the big picture.  I'm thankful for Hunter's optimism. 

Bryer's very favorite activity is listening to music, so Jason bought a ukulele and is slowly learning to play!


I know the purpose of life is to #1-get a body for our spirit and #2- Be tested.  We have to learn and grow and understand how to get back to God.  It's just that simple and that complex at the same time.  With all the temptations around us, maybe it would be easier if we had blinders on to keep us away from the things we shouldn't see or do. 

We aren't able to grow the way we are meant to if it's all 'easy'.  Somehow I thought I could pick my trials.  I didn't know they could pick me.  But I guess Bryer did.  She was chosen to be mine before this life.  I am so thankful for that.  I wonder sometimes if she was one of the most valiant there was.  And that's why she has made her way here to our family in the 'protected bubble' that she has.  I have always really liked the quote, "Let there be no empty chairs in our Heavenly home."  And in a way, Bryer's chair is already reserved for her.  I wonder what things will be like for her - and for us as a family - as she grows.  The kids just see her as Baby Bryer.  They don't see her imperfections.  Yet as I write that word 'imperfections', I realize they are not.  They are her protection.  Her insurance to return to God. 

She loves her Daddy! 
While I wish I could just sit and relish in that moment of the eternal plan of things, life still has to be lived.  I still have to figure a way to grocery shop with her while she can't yet sit up in a cart, but is near too big to be in her car seat riding in the cart.  I still have to figure a way to support my kids in their classrooms and make sure Bryer is stimulated and getting her therapy needs.  I still have to figure how to have her in my sight as she lays on the floor, unable to roll over sit up as I clean the house and help with homework.  I still have to figure a way to get her to eat and chew and feed herself so I can wean her from nursing.  Because she is almost a year.  But she's not.  Am I in denial? 

One year olds sit and crawl and pull to stand at the couch, even cruising, and put little trinkets in their mouths with their amazing fine motor skills.  My almost 1 year old, given the chance to lay on her back, will just lay on her back.  Yet there are amazing times that she laughs when no one is around.  I tune into any little hint of sound she may hear - and I hear nothing.  I sense that that is when her angels are around her.  We kind of joke about it, but it's true.  She will giggle every so often for no apparent reason.  "She is contagious", were the words my mother-in-law used a few weeks ago.  She smiles and you can't help but smile.  She laughs or gives open mouth kisses (only to me, I might add) and I can't help but love her! 

 


Are we born so in tune to God, so fresh from His presence?  And then we spend a lifetime becoming immune to it, only with the goal to return there one day?  Then why do I complain that Bryer has been preserved at this time to be here on earth with us and help the rest of us prove ourselves worthy to be there too.  To help the rest of us.  To help.  It's a fine line to walk and live day-to-day lives with the knowledge of eternity.  If I didn't have to eat or sleep or clean or cook or shop and I could just sit and enjoy the moment of here and now and preparing for the next activity, I would.  I could.  Maybe that's the switch to make.  To enjoy her.  Really, to enjoy her.  Not comparing, not worrying, not following a timeline.  She's obviously on God's timeline, where there is none.  There's no developmental milestones, no 'below normal' for Him, no time constraints that something has to get done. 

My expectations for the future are so unsure now, where I was so confident in the way our lives were going.  I looked forward to each and every day with my children and the stages they were in, for they pass through them so quickly.  And here Bryer sits in her infant stage, her innocence, with her angels surrounding her.  And she laughs.  Oh she laughs!  I looked forward to, but not at all anxious, for the time my children would be on their own and leave home.  Will that happen now?  "I have never wanted something so bad and had to go without," still rings in my ears as Jason and I talked a while back.  I can say I would like Bryer to get better.  And yet 'better' is so relative.  She's so close to God.  So precious.  So contagious.  So how could she get any better than that?  Physically, health-wise - this is all a stage.  A glimpse in the eternal sceme of things.

I will go pick up my house while kids are resting before my big boys get home from school.  And try to keep an eternal perspective in this worldly day-to-day life.  Today I have listened to this Hilary Weeks song over a dozen times, trying to soak in the message. 
(Thank you to whoever made this video and for the Mom in it that illustrates life so well with little kids.) 

 
God buoyed me up and knew I would need to be in this frame of mind so that I would be prepared for the next chapter of things to start in October 2011.