Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Children's Hospital

I wanted to write about my feelings regarding our stay and treatment at Children's Hospital. It's been on my mind so much lately and I just have to share about our experience there. When Calvin's heart defect was discovered at my twenty week fetal anatomy scan, I was told, because of the complexity of his defect, that we would need to have our twins born at Women and Children's. I was scared but confident that the help we needed was at Children's, so Shane, Lorelei and I packed up and moved to Vancouver. It's something I'll always be grateful we did. When my water broke (Georgia's amniotic sac) on November 10, I remember an unusual calm feeling overcoming me. This was it. I had been frightened of the birth for basically my whole pregnancy, knowing that once Calvin was outside my body, his little heart would need mending right away. However, that day I was granted a sort of serenity, a feeling of inner peace and I was absolutely looking forward to meeting my babies at last. My c-section went smoothly, I had absolutely no pain and within a minute of each other my babies were born. Georgia was being assessed and because Calvin was being taken immediately to the NICU, I got to hold him first. He was beautiful, I couldn't stop looking at his little face and his tiny fingers. All too quickly he was gone, taken to be checked out and to have his heart defect diagnosed. I met Dr. S, the cardiologist in the recovery room while I was nursing Georgia for the first time and he explained to me what we were up against. Shane felt an immediate trust for him and we were confident we were in the best possible hands for our care.

Despite the fact that Calvin suffered complications and died, I can't say enough about the level of care we received while we were there. All the nurses were wonderful, and our two doctors, Dr. S and Dr. C were terrific about explaining in a compassionate, kind manner what was happening with our son and what we were facing. I have never received medical treatment of this kind before, their approach was personable, far from clinical, and we knew they truly cared what happened to our child and our family. Not only was Calvin's well-being important to our doctors, but so was ours. I can't even begin to explain how many of the doctors, nurses and other staff that had worked with our family stopped by to speak to us, hug us, and offer condolences when our son died. They made us feel that we were more than just a medical number or file, we were people who had faced a terrible heartbreaking loss and we were treated so compassionately and kindly, I will never forget them. I guess that's why I feel so strongly about needing to give back. My son's whole life was spent inside the walls of Children's Hospital and we would have likely been there a good while longer had Calvin not died. Right now, a big part of my healing is focusing on raising money to give to Children's Hospital in Calvin's honour. I'm so excited about being able to give them something to show how grateful we are for the way our child and our family was treated while we were there. Giving back for the sake of Calvin is what's keeping me together these days, it gives me something to focus on, making something beautiful come out of something that hurt so much. If I could just make people understand how important it is having Children's Hospital there for families like us who have had sick children, it wouldn't be an issue trying to fundraise. In a way, I think everyone should experience what a wonderful place it is for sick children, but I also would love to see the day where nobody needed to experience it as well. It's so hard to put my feelings of gratitude into words, there are none adequate enough to express how I truly feel, only that I'm glad they were there when we needed them and I can't wait to go back with a cheque.

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