What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Each year in the United States alone, medical treatment is sought for an estimated 1,400-1,600 babies who have been shaken. Don’t let your child become just another statistic! Tell everyone who cares for your child “Never shake a baby!”

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Grandmother's Heartbreak... Mourning from a different perspective.

Tuesday, April 12th started out just like every other day. Little did I know that it would change my life forever. I got up and went to work at our restaurant. I had just purchased a car and was going to get the tags for it that afternoon. I went to the courthouse a little after 4pm and it was closed. When I pulled into the circle drive my husband was running across the drive towards our motel and said that something had happened to our granddaughter, Madilyne. I quickly parked the car and called my daughter, Rachel’s, phone.

Upon talking with her co-worker, he told me that Madilyne wasn’t breathing and she was in the ambulance being worked on by the EMT’s.

My heart stopped….literally. My first question was to Rachel… “do you want me to come?” She couldn’t answer me and I knew I had to run and get there. I asked questions regarding what had happened and how did Rachel find out. However, I also asked if she had any bruising. The Dr. said he didn’t see any. Later we would know she had many.

So, we headed out on the highway, not knowing where we were going. On to I-44 and into Oklahoma. But where??? I kept praying for Madi. I kept praying for her to be ok. The babysitter’s husband called me while we were en-route. My first question to him was “what happened”. He gave me an answer which sounded ok, but I would find out later that he had given out many different answers to as many different people.

It was finally decided that Madi would be taken to a hospital in Tulsa. We were the first to arrive of the family. I sat in the waiting room waiting for some word about Madi. She finally arrived at the hospital about 9:30pm. They wouldn’t let me see her. That I would understand because they had to get her settled. Finally a nurse came into the waiting room to let me know she was settled and they were going to take her for a CAT scan. I asked the nurse why the CAT scan because she just choked on her milk…
I was told by the babysitter’s husband… What could they be scanning??? The nurse said I could see her on the way to the scan.

Madi came down the hall on a HUGE white gurney…she looked pale and tiny and beautiful. They were giving her oxygen. I put my hands on either side of her head and kissed her forehead and told her that Granny loved her and she needed to get better. I was crying and so was everyone else around. They took her into the elevator and I started to sob….I got to a wall and slid down it and kept on sobbing. Something wasn’t right! I couldn’t comprehend what was going on….That’s when I knew my life as I had known it would be changed forever.

I felt that I had to put my feelings on the shelf and concentrate on Rachel. I had to help her get through this. Desperation set in. Little did I know how bad it was going to get and our lives would be changed forever in the next 48 hours. I felt if I could just hold her up and get her through this I wouldn’t lose her, too. Fear is as cold as steel. When it grabs your heart I believe you lose yourself. Standing beside Madilyne’s bed, watching the FBI and OSBI take pictures and roll her from side to side hurt me to my core. WHO could have hurt her so badly to take her away forever???

During the funeral I kept close watch on Rachel. I couldn’t lose my child and I couldn’t blame her for the way she felt or acted….Madi was HER child and she was my grandchild. Madi was my heart….

I spent a year watching Rachel, making sure I saw her everyday.

The trial was horrific. I sat in the library behind the courtroom and listened to Rachel cry, sob and scream with the testimony. But my thought was keeping her alive. After the judicial system betrayed Madi and our family, it was time to go home and try to put the pieces together…but the pieces didn’t fit anymore.

I gave up my love….my restaurant and my home. I watched, with dread, my daughter move to Florida and away from where I could SEE her everyday and know that she was alive….I knew she wasn’t “well”, but at least she was breathing. Sometimes you live second by second….waiting for the next breath to come.

It has been 4 years now and it still seems like yesterday. Rachel started to come alive in her spirit about a year ago. By last spring I knew she was going to be “ok” and my worry of “losing” her to the tragedy was over and God told me she was his and I must learn to go on with my life, too.

I didn’t realize that when I put my life “on that shelf” when Madi was hurt, I would forget how to live MY life. I lost almost everything I had…my home, my marriage, my businesses, cars, and almost my sanity, but I kept the most important things with me…my family….my kids…

Life is precious and delicate. Everyday, every moment is a gift from God and needs to be lived accordingly. My life will never be the same…but it will go on and be blessed because I know God will never leave me. Without the very STRONG FAITH I have in Him, I could not have made it through the furnace of flames, to come out victorious on the other side…

With Love and Blessings,
"Granny" to Madilyne

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