I thought that my heart might break a few weeks ago, and wrote about the pain of having our latest foster child moved. Little did I know that just a few days after that my world would shift and I would almost completely forget about our sadness. For those who know us, you know that my Tyler was in a horrible accident at work, and remains in the hospital in Edmonton. I really am not ready to write about that experience yet, and I will of course talk with Tyler about ever writing about it at all. But being with him there brought up so many other memories, and I thought I was strong enough to finally write about those. I think that it will take a lot to share this story, so it may be in a few instalments, much like when I wrote about when I had my bone marrow transplant.
Four and a half years ago our little girl Shayleen came to us on a cold winter day in February. I have often debated discussing all that she had wrong with her, and felt like I did not want her to grow up thinking that she had an ugly beginning to her little life. Believe me, it was not like that at all. She was born on a Friday night, and she came home with us on Saturday morning, and it was only suppose to be for the weekend. Our youngest son, Nathanial was 10 years old at the time, and when we had talked about fostering we had thought that we were done with babies, and did not have any supplies, crib or even the knowledge any more to be the parents that a newborn baby would thrive with. But after a few phone calls to Tim at work, we figured we could handle taking a brand new baby for just the weekend, couldn't we?
I will never forget arriving at the hospital, and there were five or six nurses sitting around the main desk, all with babies in their arms, and I immediately honed in on one that was holding the tiniest baby there, who had a huge tuft of black hair sticking up from the top of her head. "Is that one mine, " I asked? "If you are Verna Murphy, then she is all yours," responded the nurse. As I tried to position her in the car seat the nurse passed me a huge stack of papers saying that the check lists on the sheets would help me through the next few days. I thought she meant that the papers would provide a woman who had not changed a diaper in a few years with all the facts that I would need about formula, bum rashes and how to deal with sleepless nights. I would hardly need the material anyway as it was only going to be two nights. Off me and the two boys went with our new baby in tow to Wal-Mart to grab the essentials that would carry us through the adventure that would be the weekend. I had been texting my sister-in-law Michelle earlier in the day, with no clue of how our lives were going to change, so imagine her surprise when I called from Wal-Mart asking what I would need for a new baby. She had just had a son a few months previous, so she quickly told me of some of the things that came to her mind that I would need.
We were like pioneers in uncharted territory when we got Shayleen home and unwrapped her and sat down to look her all over. We did it again when Tim came home from work, and we set up a little bassinet that seemed huge to the tiny little bundle it was holding. Saturday night passed pretty uneventfully, but I admit, it felt so funny being woken up on Sunday morning by a crying, hungry baby. Sunday, March 1 is another date that I remember because it was another day that my life changed forever. During that day I realized that this precious little thing was struggling with something that I had never dealt with before, and that would cause me such great anxiety over the coming weeks that when I think about it now, I really don't know how I functioned as well as I did considering the stress, lack of sleep and total worry that seemed to envelope me. By the end of that Sunday I knew two things for sure, our little girl was going through drug withdrawal, and I had to some how convince Tim that she was not leaving our house the next day as we had planned. As I spent that first Sunday night dancing with our little girl in the kitchen, as I had done in other kitchens with our two boys I can remember at one point completely bawling my eyes out as I realized how much I loved this precious little girl, and was ready to protect her and hold her and treasure her for the rest of her life. Seldom in my life had I felt such powerful love for another human being so instantly, except for our boys of course. But would Tim feel the same way? And what about the boys? We had all said two nights, and now I was changing the deal. Below is a picture of Nathanial holding Shayleen on her very first night at home.