Friday, November 12, 2010

God's Plan to use Layah's life being fulfilled

I'm gonna try to express in words how fulfilling my day was yesterday. It was a special day, being Veterans Day, but it was a very surreal day for me. Several weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to go up to the new RNICU at the new Women and Children's Center at UAB. Amy Nix Banaszk went to visit a friend of Amy's that recently had a micro preemie boy, Brooks, who was born at 26 weeks. Brooks is doing awesome, but an amazing thing for me was the unit itself.As soon as we entered I immediately remembered, as I saw the wall, the tile that Tobi had put his hand print on, the day before I went into labor with Layah, at the 2008 RNICU reunion that was held at the Bartow Arena. Also, remembering back to Tobi (108 days) and Layah's time (6 days) in the RNICU I was struck by how quiet it was when I first entered. It seemed like normal hospital floor. There was no, big open room with babies lined up around the room, right next to each other. No, ever baby had his or her own "room". It's like a semi private room. The family can sleep on a pull out couch right next to the baby, watch TV, (even wear ear buds to stay quiet), rock the baby in a reclining rocker, or utilize the mini fridge in each unit! WOW! I just was in awe. The communication system between the nurses and staff was amazing, it was basically like a voice activated microphone they could wear around there neck and if they were being called by another nurse, they could answer without touching it-keeping their hands sterile. It was quit impressive. So, just being able to visit this new unit was very neat. I didn't have a chance to find Tobi's hand print, but I knew I'd be back and would be able to get a tour.

So yesterday,after I dropped my precious Luke off at Bright Horizons, I went by the cemetery to change out Layah's flag and leave her an artificial white mum arrangement. The sky was a gorgeous blue. As I changed out the flag and stepped back to take a picture, the wind blew the flag...a sweet little "Layah" moment. I knew that it was already the start to a great day. I got down to UAB for the Patient Family Centered Care Team meeting. It ended up being a bit overwhelming because I was in this huge conference with high-back, black leather chairs around this conference table, surrounded by doctors, and men and women in business suits, some of these folks were very high up the totem-pole at UAB Hospital. I later realized that that this meeting was intended to incorporate us, the patients and families, serviced by UAB, to help define the standard of patient care that will be evolving over the next 10-15 years. I chimed in at one point to make sure that Jordan, the Assistant VP at UAB, I didn't know yet what my role was to be but my heart and passion is for the women with high risk pregnancies, but particularly the RNICU babies and their families. I think there will be many opportunities for me, my ministries and just the Lord to do His work through this committee I will be a part of. It's very promising.

Then, my parent panel meeting was to be at 3;15. I got there early, and of course chatted up Kristi, the bereavement nurse, and Kristin, the MOD nurse, before the training session was to begin. Rachael, my dear friend who lost her son Isaac (see early posts), to Trisomy 16, after only 18 minutes of life with him, December 13, 2007. I was so thrilled she came and shared her story to these nurses, clergymen and women, medical examiners, and even military personnel that came through this bereavement training. It was very purifying and healing to me. I spoke first and just gave them a little history of Tobi and then Layah's life and death and my grief process to follow. Rachael and I both talked the full 2 hours. It was great. We cried along the way, the listeners cried, but I think that we definitely made an impression of how these people could help those that they will encounter that will face death of a loved one or themselves. Several of them came up to us after it was over and mentioned how much they appreciated us coming and how it was great that I mentioned to them not to wash the belongings of the families who have experienced a loss. Many of them never thought about it, and would do so from now on. I was drained emotionally afterwards, but one of the sweet nurses that was there in the training and had been in the NICU when Layah was there but never actually kept her, had heard me say I wanted to go back and find Tobi's hand print, so she asked me if I wanted to come down to the nursery with her to find it, since she had to clock out anyway. So we did, and chatted along the way. I got to hear that another one of the moms, whose last quad, Canon, had died a week after Layah died, had recently given birth to an almost full term baby. I was thrilled to hear it! She did guide me around and we found Tobi's hand print. It was right where it should be, in one of the several family gathering rooms-which is not a waiting room, but a room where families can hang out, watch TV, eat supper around the table, kids do home work, etc. It's just a great place for these RNICU families to be able to relax when they are not in the room with the baby. Lisa, the nurse that gave me the tour, told me she had heard me mention the Foot Prints Ministry and she was interested to help. So, she gave me her email address. I'm looking forward to getting UAB on the role of hospitals we're able to provide care packages to for the families. Although the needs are different for the families there, with many of the families being teenage or unwed moms, I know we can stil provide a lot of prayer and support.

After I left the tour of the RNICU, I managed to go straight to the FPM meeting at St. Marks in Vestavia, by 6pm. Lurenda was getting stuff out right as I was about to start looking for someone to ask where to go in. The meeting was great. I really connected with Abby Nichloas, who lost twin boys a few years ago due to premature labor. We spent a few minutes praying for several of the boys we know that were recently born extremely early and the Prickett family who lost their little 9 month old, Olivia, to unknown causes when she didn't wake up a week ago. There were so many connections that we had in common, Abby and me. I'm really looking forward to continuing getting to know her. I think we're gonna be great friends, we are both go getter's.

Well, we had Tobi's soccer party tonight at Jump Zone, and I went down the slide a few times with Luke, did some back handsprings, and toe touches in the inflatables, so I'm pooped-beside my Tina's turbo class! I'm gonna try to do a devotional tomorrow.

Faithfully His,


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