One of our bee-aunties wrote this for a class and it gives such a great insight in to the lives of the families we represent... thanks Krista, for letting us share your experiences.
My Little Trooper
My shoes made loud squeaking noises as I paced back and forth across the hospital waiting room. My mom told me to sit down, but I simply ignored her. I was too lost in my thoughts to really care.
“It’s called Hydranencephaly. Your baby has about 15-20% of her brain and the rest is all a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid. It’s extremely rare. About one in 10,000 babies will suffer from this. The prognosis is generally very poor,” the doctor pronounced unceremoniously nearly three weeks ago.
“So what does this mean for my baby?” my brother’s girlfriend, Haley, choked out through gut-wrenchingly loud sobs.
“Honestly, I don’t expect the outcome to be good. If she’s born at all, there’s a chance she won’t make it through the night,” he grimly stated.
These words aren’t something a seventeen year old mommy and daddy-to-be want to hear, let alone the sixteen year old aunt-to-be. They’re the kind of words you don’t forget. The ones that are like a song stuck in your head. They haunt your every thought. They eat you up and consume you whole. They replay over and over again.
They’re the exact words I listened to inside my head on repeat and the ones that had me finding solace in a bathroom stall away from the tear-stricken faces of my family. As I let out tears of fear that I refused to let anyone see, I found myself uttering a prayer.
“Please, Lord, let her be alright. Let her live a happy life with her family. I love her already. Please, don’t take her away from us before we even get a chance to know her,” I finished as I wiped my eyes and wandered back to where my future awaited.
A few minutes later, Haley’s mom surged through the doors with tears streaming down her face and a smile as big as Texas stretched across her lips.
“She’s beautiful,” she whispered through her tear-soaked smile.
The room erupted in joyous declarations instantly. A chorus of “When can I see her?” is heard throughout the room. We were quite the group at that moment. Everyone was crying and wondering and thanking God. We were hugging and laughing through clouded eyes.
My mom and Haley’s grandma got to go first. I tried my best to wait patiently, but as my foot bounced uncontrollably harder with each second that ticked by, I found that to be impossible. I wanted to see her for myself. The desire to run through those doubles doors past the nurses’ station was as strong as ever. The two-at-a-time visitor rule should not be acceptable at times like these.
Finally, my mom came back into the room. The look on her face told me all I needed to know. My dad and I got to go next. I held his hand tightly in mine as we walked down the hallway past the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where my brother and Haley had opted out of running tests. The third door on the right appeared in my line of sight in no time at all.
There she was lying in a hospital issued baby bed that heated her skin. She was crying her little eyes out and kicking her tiny legs. Tears cascaded down my face like waterfalls. I had prepared myself for the worst, but I had not readied myself for this. A living, breathing angel was right before my eyes. The wracking sobs bubbled up to the surface and spewed out of my mouth and into the room. I wasn’t the only one, though. Nestled in to her hospital bed, Haley and my brother were wiping tears from the corners of their eyes.
My niece was born on September 23, 2009, at 11:58 am. Before that day, I never knew you could love someone so completely and unconditionally that you just met. She was and is still the absolute love of my life. I learned that day that miracles do happen and that sometimes, when it seems like the whole universe is against me, the power of prayer is astounding.
So began our first battle of a raging war we were terrifyingly unarmed for. This set in motion an unstoppable force. Burkleigh Hazel Tribble was a trooper that day, and will go on to be the bravest soldier in the war against her disease.