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!”

Thursday, July 15, 2010

~Seraphina's Story~

I am 21 yrs old and a mother of 2. My oldest will be 2 August 24. My youngest will be 1 August 11. My oldest name is Seraphina. She is blind and disabled due to child abuse. My little angel was 6 months old when she was beaten for the last time. She was living with her father and his girlfriend while we were undergoing a custody battle. I knew there was abuse going on in the home and I contacted the police and Department of Child services and they did nothing. I was even prepared to kidnap her but they never let her out of the home where I could get to her. After she was taken the from them the last time we heard about the abuse she endured. She wasn't allowed to eat when she was hungry if she didnt eat fast. She wasn't allowed to sleep unless on their schedule. She was spanked, slapped and, put in time out beginning at 1 month old. She even had her hands safety pinned behind her back so she wouldn't get out of a swaddle at night. Once there was a police report made when they took her to the ER because she was pooping blood. The Drs noticed that Sera had handprint bruises on her stomach. She was squeezed so hard that it cause bruises. Even after that and another incident of a black eye she was not taken from the home. The last time she was abused was on February 18, 2009. Her father's girlfriend, Alicia, was home alone with Sera and her own daughter who was a newborn. She had gotten angry with Sera becuase she was whiney and took her into her room and holding her around her waist, swung her back and forth beating her head against her own crib. She did this several times and than threw her into her crib so hard she hit her head yet again off the other side. Sera went into shock and started choking yet Alicia just turned up the music in the room and left shutting the door behind her. She told police later that she thought she killed her. By the time her father got home Alicia had went in to the room and picked up Sera and was holding her as she siezed and choked in her arms. Alicia claimed she couldn't find the phone, but her father was able to find the phone right away. He called 911 and an abulance came and picked her up. The parametic on the ambluance did a quick assesment on her and said that on a scale from 3-15 Sera was an 8. She was not responding to anything but more pain and even then all she could do was wimper. Once they got her on the way to the hospital they needed to get her on some pain medication. Because Sera was so stiff they had to take a corkscrew like tool and put an IV into her bone marrow. Finally they were able to get her on morphine and she started to relax.
Meanwhile, I was pregnant with my second child. I was not feeling well. Not having a clue what was happening to my baby, I went to the ER to make sure everything was OK with the way I was feeling. When I got there and was getting ready to be checked in, my daughter had arrived. The Dr came to me and asked me if I brought a baby with me. I told him no and realized they were talking about my daughter. They escorted me and my fiance to a family waiting room and told us that my daughter had been dropped when being put into her crib (that was Alicia's story at the time). After a few tests the Drs knew that the damage done to my daughter was not an accident. That is when the interogations started. They told me I was not allowed to see my daughter. They also gave me the worst news a mother could hear. They told me that the damage done to my baby was to severe and that she would't make it through the night. She was still seizing, had a skull fracture, a bleed in her brain, detacted retinas, a clot in her brain, along with bruises all over her. I could do nothing but sob as my heart broke. The only thing that kept me going was the child that was growing inside me. They sent me home after what seemed like an eternity of trying to calm me down. That night was so tramatizing I dont remember much of it. The next day I called the hospital and my baby was still alive. I was finally oked to see her and stay with her that afternoon. The first time I saw her my heart broke all over again. She was laying in the white barred crib that looked like a miniture prison cell. She had wires connected every where on her little body. Gauze covered her head to keep the electrodes on her head and a splint on her arm to keep her from knocking out IV's. She laid there lifelss. If it wasn't for the machines saying she was alive I wouldn't have believed them. She looked like she was terrified to move.
The next few days she was back and forth from the ped's unit to the Intensive care unit. Her siezures would come and go. She was put on several meds to keep her from seizing. They had to keep her tired so she wouldn't get worked up. After the 10th day. I decided to go home that night to get some rest so I wouldn't hurt the child I was carrying. The next day I came up to the hospital to see Sera and we were informed that she was placed in a foster home. I was devestated. We went to the DFS office to try and fight to get her back, but all they could tell me is that they "suggested I sign my rights over because I couldn't handle all the challages of raising a child as special as Sera". She was never going to walk or stand or see. They told me that she was going to be in diapers for the rest of her life and would never speak. Even hearing all that I knew I had to get my daughter back. After 5 months of jumping through hoop after hoop and going to visits and classes. I finally "earned" the right to have my daughter back.
Ever since, we have been working with her constently to make sure that she lives to the best of her abilities. She is in Physical Therapy, Oral/Speech Therapy, Disabilty Services, and School for the Deaf and Blind. With all the services she is in, she has learned to stand on her own. She is starting to walk. Is learning sign language, and says a few words. She is on seizure medication. And is learning how to use her other senses to make up for the loss of her vision. We have come a long way. But as we are going on we have more trials that keep coming up. We have just recently found out that there still is a chance of brain deteoriation and that her life span has all ready been shortened. We are now in the process of finding a Dr who is willing to help us find the aswers we need to help her.
Also because of the stress I endured during the tramatic event my daughter underwent, my youngest little girl, Emilie, is also having problems. She was born 5 weeks early and we have had many tests done on her. She has calcium deposits in her brain, she favors one side more that the other, (although not as much anymore), she had tortiulis in her neck which cause a misshappen head, and she was very slow to reach her milestones. We are also having those things looked into by a Dr in Seattle.
We just ended our trial against Alcia Hocter for all the pain she has caused our family. She was found guilty of Aggravated Asault and Criminal Endangermant. Finally after 1 yr and 4 mo she will be sentenced on July 14, 2010. In that period of time she has been out of jail she has had another child and gotten engaged to a registered sex offender. She is looking at a sentence of 30 yrs at the most. In order to ensure she gets the full sentence I need to collect letters stating to the judge that this shouldn't be tolerated and asking that he shows her no mercy as she has shown none so sweet Seraphina. If you are interested in writing one please let me know.
Even with all of this we still manage to find happiness in every little thing my girls accomplish. Sera's father has signed over his rights to her and Will, my fiance, will adopt her right after we are married on July 24, 2010. At that point we will finally be a family. We will be faced with struggles every day and new trials will always arise, but someone was watching over my little girl that day as well as my youngest the day she was born. They are meant to be here and will achieve what they are meant to. God(or whomever is up there) has only taken from my babies what they don't need to fufill there reason they are on this earth. I have confidence that they are being closly watched and protected in there life here.
If you are intersted in keeping up with my daughter's story you can join our page and fight against child abuse. Seraphina's page is on facebook~

*Update* To read about the justice served please CLICK HERE*

Written by Kendra, Seraphina's Mother

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