Friday, March 25, 2011
Jeremiah was born on December 21st, 1997. He was an amazing baby. Every parents dream. He was never sick, never spit up and never cried. He was always laughing and smiling. Things changed for us on June 7th 1999. We had a family friend from Arizona come stay with us for the summer. My husband and I lived in Phoenix when I got pregnant with Jeremiah and decided we needed to be close to family back in Oregon. This was going to be my mom and dads first grandchild and they wanted us back here too. On June 6th 1999, Jeremiah was diagnosed with croup. So I decided to not send him to the regular babysitter. The family friend said he would watch him for a few hours till Jeremiahs dad came home. I left the house at about 3:00 so I could clock in at 3:30 pm. Well, I started work and it was like any other day. Untill the phone at my register rang. The woman on the other end told me to pick up the other line, that I had a call. It was his regualr baby sitter, telling me that she was calling an ambulance because Jeremiah wasnt breathing right. I said ok. She asked him which hospital did I want him taken to. I said to St John's Hospital in Longview, WA since they were the ones that diagnosed him with croup the day before. I grabbed my till and went down to the counting room. Everyone down there told me not to worry about it and to just go. I walked out of the counting room and they handed me the phone again. It was the babysitter again. (not the family friend) She told me that they had just left with him and were taking him to Emanual Trauma Unit. Then I knew it was more serious. But I did not expect what I heard when i got there. When I arrived, I waslked past 2 Portland police officers. But this was a main hospital in Portland and the police were always there. I walked in and saw the family friend there trying to spell our last name. He was acting like he was there for a sliver or something. But when the police and a case worker came up and asked me if I was Jeremiahs mother, I knew something was very very wrong.
I started yelling that I wanted to see my son and they said I couldn't. That he was being prepped for brain surgery to save his life. I should have said something to the family friend then, because thats when he curled up in a ball and started crying. But I didnt care. I just wanted to know what was going on. I called my husband and he came as soon as he could. He arrived right after my mother did. We sat in this room for 5 hours hearing occasional updates on his surgery. During this time, the detectives from the St Helens police department were pulling Jason out (family friend) they pulled me out, and Jeremiahs father. After the surgery, they told us that he was in his ICU room and that we could see him. We walked into his room and I couldnt believe what I saw. I didnt recognize my own son. I stood frozen. There were tubes comming out fo his head, IVs in his arm, a breathing tube in his mouth, and bruises. So many bruises. On his cheeks, his ears, his throat, and both eyes were black and blue. They started going over the worst case senario. He suffered a stroke to his left side, so he may never walk again. He had blood in front and behind both retnias, so he could be blind. He could have CP and seizures for the rest of his life. That was if he ever woke up from the self induced coma they put him in, so his brain can rest and heal. BUT..they never said the words "Shaken Baby Syndrome" Not yet anyway. Jason sat at our house for 4 days, eating our food, watching our TV, using our phone, while we sat at our sons bedside, praying every second of every day that he would pull through this. 3 days later, after going to get something to eat, I went back up to Jeremiahs room and the head nurse told me there was a phone call from some one named Tina. This was Jason's aunt. I called her back and she told me that Jason's mom had had a heart attack and that they had a plane ticket waiiting for him at the airport to fly him home. I called the St Helens police dept and told them what was told to me. They said dont do anything . We will take care of this . 4 hours later , 2 of Jeremiahs ICU doctors, 2 nurses and a case walker, walked into his room. They closed the sliding glass door to his room and closed the curtain. While they are walking in, the phone is ringing, I answered it. It was the detectives. They told me that they had just arrested Jason. It was like some one took a 2x4 to the back of my legs and to my chest. I hit the floor, sobbing. Jeremiah's dad hugged me screaming what was wrong and I told him Jason did this. Mike started heading for the door, when the doctors stopped him and said "You need to be here for your son right now, but we want you to know, this is what we call Shaken Baby Syndrome." They kept it from us for 4 days, while Jason sat at our house. I was mad because the whole time they were protecting Jason from my husband. Now I can see why they did, but at the time I was furious they didnt tell us.
We were at the hospital for 6 1/2 weeks. In this time, Jeremiah got his vision back, and was able to talk again. There still was no movement on his left side though, but that never slowed him down. We were home for about a month before Jeremiah started dragging himself to the couch to teach himself to walk again. And he did. He didn't give up. Jeremiah is 13 now and as tall as I am. When he was 5 he even played soccer. He doesn't have siezures. They did put a feeding tube in, but removed it 8 weeks later. By talking to him, you would never know anything ever happened to him. But you can see the trauma of it all. 4 scars on his head. His left arm is bent and his wrist hangs limp. He walks with a limp on his left side, but the wonderful doctors at Shriners are working on all that. They have already done one surgery to his arm and 2 to his leg. Funny, but when he finds out he has to have surgery again, he is ready for the video games to be brought to his bed. Since he's not upset by all of it, I can't be either. He keeps us all strong :) Jason was charged with 2nd degree assult and recieved 5 years 10 months. We didnt find out till court that Jeremiah was strangled right along with being shaken. He was also hit in the face and thrown to the floor. I am not sure who was looking out for my son, or who his guardian angel is, but I can't thank them enough. Sometimes life throws you in directions you cant control. Throws you in directions you hate. When I look into my sons eyes, I see his strength, his love, his compassion. And from that he teaches me. He is my super-hero.
Thank you for listening to his story . He thought that he was alone. That he was the only one that this had happened to. Untill we came across this website. Now he knows. God Bless each and every one of you and your families.
Mike , Dena , Jeremiah , Tyler