Devon was born on Thursday, Aug. 25th 2005. This was a few days before Hurricane Katrina, so I thought to myself maybe I should name her Katrina instead. : )
Devon was perfect at 7lb 8oz and was such a good baby. She was my best nurser, too. She had two older sisters, Lily 9, and Lydia 4.
On Friday, Dec 8th 2006, it was like any other day. Normally I leave for work very early, and my husband gets the girls off to the babysitter and school. This day however, I traded shifts for someone who needed to work an early shift, and I worked his late shift. I am so thankful for this... if I would have gone to work at my normal time, I wouldn't have seen Devon that morning. I would kissed my husband good-bye then left for work with out waking up the girls.
I was able to wake her up, give her a bath, and give her breakfast. After she was all ready, I made sure she looked cute for the day, and gave her a big kiss and said, "Momma loves you." and told my husband I was leaving and the girls were watching cartoons. That was the last time I saw Devon alive.
I received a call at work around 5:30pm that there was an emergency and I needed to call my husband. I called him immediately and he told me over the phone that Devon had died and I needed to get to the hospital. I didn't know how Devon had died, other than she stopped breathing. I completely collapsed to the floor.
A co-worker drove me to my sister's work which was on the way to the hospital. My brother-in-law happened to be at my sister's work as well because they were going to dinner as it was Friday evening. My BIL drove and my sister and I tried to call everyone to meet us at the hospital. My mother used to be an RN at the same hospital and now volunteered at the gift shop and she was working that night. She was able to go to the ER and be with my husband.
When we got there I was so shocked. Devon looked so different, but she looked SO beautiful. She looked yellow, and her lips were redish/purple. I took her from my husband and just cried. I held her so close. I tried to take mental pictures of everything I could. Someone went to the gift shop and bought a disposable camera. We took many precious photos. The experience at the hospital was by the far the sweetest experience for us. There was also a hospital volunteer woman who works with families who've lost children/babies. She had a nice camera and took some high-quality photos for us and also took molds of her hands and feet.
While holding Devon, I noticed she had a mark all around her neck and up to her ears. I didn't know what this was at the time.
All my family that could have come, was able to come to the hospital. Everyone who wanted to, was able to hold Devon and tell her how much they loved her. My 9-year old and 4 year old were able to come to the hospital and also say goodbye. My 9 year old was very emotional but I don't think my 4 year old knew what was going on at the time. We were with Devon for about 2 1/2 hours in the ER. I took a wisp of hair. The volunteer woman gave us a nice box to put our memories in. Devon was still wearing her sock and little, pink, "Robeez" shoe. I took it off and put it in the box.
My husband and I said our goodbyes and kissed and hugged her. We put her on the gurney and "tucked" her in with the blankies and left the room.
Afterwards, we had to meet with the sheriff for questioning. We still didn't know what happened. He told us that Devon had been sleeping in her infant car seat (Graco Snugride) and somehow had become strangled in the straps. The babysitter's daughter found her and immediately got her mother. Our babysitter couldn't remember how she undid the straps as she was pulling her out start CPR. But we now know that she put Devon in her seat with out fastening the crotch buckle, only the buckle that goes across the chest. Devon struggled to get out and while doing so, tilted the seat and strangled herself.
The irony is, we hadn't used this seat in months. She was now in a forward facing seat, but my babysitter had the old infant seat (that I gave her) and was using it like a bed or something.
I have forgiven my babysitter. There are many imaginary conversations I have in my head with her. Sometimes I want to ruin her life by suing her (and yes I've spoken to several attorneys) but it wouldn't be ethical. Afterall, it's still an accident.
The only thing I truly struggle with, is the unfairness of it all and how pointless her death is. I don't spend time wondering, "what if?"as it makes me more sad. In fact, I try not to think about it. I avoid it, otherwise I'll fall apart.
We are not religious and to some people that is uncomfortable. However, we are comforted in each other and the love we have for our family and friends.
Even though today is not the actual "date" Devon died, it still *feels* like today. Like Friday, two years ago.
I can remember the events perfectly. It's transparent.
Sometimes I think that one of the boys is Devon ... like she couldn't find a way to come back, so she somehow 'duplicated' the baby we were having, so she could come back to me. I don't care if she's a boy or a girl, I just want her back with me.
We had Devon's body cremated. It was the right decision for our family. She's here, with us.
It's not always hard, but today, it's hard.
Come back to me.
Too see a painting of Devon and my mother, visit http://www.altusfineart.com/home/afa/page_1377_194/looking_forward.html ... Devon was 3 weeks old when she posed for this painting. The original is in my mother's home.