So, we've been home for several days now and I can't get several faces out of my head. Their stories just break my heart, and I wish there was something I could do.
The first is a little boy who was SO incredibly friendly. He had a contagious laugh and called everyone Momma when you came to see him...except his real Momma. She didn't even talk to him when she came to pick him up at discharge (and it kind of seemed like that might have been the first time she had seen him since admittance), and he didn't give her the time of day either. It was like he knew that his caregivers thought more of him than his mother. I'm well aware that I am only seeing one snapshot of a very big picture, but it hurt my heart to see such a lovable little boy treated so nonchalantly.
The other is a little girl Abby's age who has been here since she was released from the NICU. She has never been home. Doesn't that just break your heart right there? She had a trach and was vented, so I was immediately drawn to her in the playroom. I asked if Abby and I could play with her, and the therapist teared up when she told me that she had never had parallel play before. At 20 months old, she had never played with another child. SO sad. Abby had a great time sharing a popper toy with her, and the smile across that sweet baby's face was priceless. It just makes me wonder how much this baby could be doing at 20 months old if she were home with supportive parents who worked with her. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.
I will never understand how parents can just cast their children aside because they don't fit the world's mold of perfection. I will tell you from experience that having a special needs child will absolutely change your life for the better. You will learn a compassion and empathy that can only truly be understood from experience.