Our New Family July 2010

Our New Family July 2010
Our New Family

About our family...

Our family started on June 2, 2000. We have been married 10 years. We have three boys (Drake 5, Warner 4, & Henry). Michael is the Executive Director of Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) and a state lobbyist. I am a registered nurse, and a third-year law student at BYU. Drake is starting Kindergarten in the fall, and Warner is getting ready to start pre-school in the fall. Henry arrived July 7, 2010. Henry was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and passed away, after 32 hours, on July 9, 2010. This blog provided updates on what was going on with Henry, and gives a little insight into our thoughts through the challenges we faced during his birth and death.

Be sure to read "The day we found out our baby has HLHS," under must read blogs, and if you want more info about HLHS there is a link in the right column that is a brochure from Mayo Clinic about HLHS.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Meeting an HLHS 3-Year-Old

Michael and I finally had the opportunity to meet with a family that has a 3-year-old with HLHS. The Shumway family lives in Provo and they have 7 children total. Timothy, who has HLHS, is the youngest. Interestingly enough the Shumway’s brother, Doug Shumway, is a 3L at BYU Law with me. We met at their home and were privileged enough to visit and interact with Timothy. The Shumways were so kind and open about the experiences they have had with Timothy both before his delivery, throughout the surgeries, and up to his current condition. I am very thankful for the willingness they had to share their very private, personal, and emotional experiences with us.

There are several significant advantages that they have over us. First, Kathy, Timothy’s mother, is a super mom; she is a much stronger individual both spiritually and temporally than I am. This attribute has dramatically impacted the success that Timothy has had throughout the first 3 years of his life. In addition, Timothy’s father is a professor at BYU, and through his employment has financial stability and exceptional healthcare benefits.

It was amazing to meet Timothy and discover a 3-year-old who ran, played, and even jumped on the trampoline with Drake and Warner. Besides his faint sterna incision scar, he is a normal 3-year-old. Actually he is developmentally advanced for a 3-year-old.
Kathy shared with us many things including her thoughts and struggles through each of the surgeries, how Timothy coped with each of the surgeries (both mentally and physically), and how the family coped with having their mom away from the home so much. In addition, she shared photo’s from the surgeries and hospitalizations; she even shared the itemized hospital bills for each of the surgeries.
There is one statement that the Shumways shared with us that pinpoints the decision that every parent having an HLHS baby must decide. Kathy said, “You have to be prepared to deal with and accept the very worst HLHS situation that could happen.” They decided that no matter what condition Timothy ended up in, whether he died during the surgeries, lived until he was 20, was mentally/cognitively normal, or if he had severe mental delay, they were prepared to accept the circumstances.

Obviously this is where the similarities in our decision end. Michael and I agree that we do not want to go through the struggles associated with the surgeries to have our baby die at 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years. We do not want to see a young child deteriorate knowing every day that their condition gets worse. Even though dealing with the death of a child results in extreme sadness and heart wrenching grief I choose that over looking into the face of my 5-year-old and seeing the recognition and realization in his eyes that he is dying. Furthermore, we do not want a child to have to live and suffer through the surgeries and then have to deal with mental or physical handicaps.

1 comment:

  1. Marcie -- I don't think you should downplay your well of spiritual strength in the decisions you and Mike have made. You two, as the parents and temporary guardians of this little boy are the closest ones to his spirit, and I think your impressions and decisions are a good reflection of what His will is for him. Miss you (I'm in Idaho working) -- send my love. -- Britt