11 Oct The True Story Behind My Purpose
The story behind my purpose will give you a better understanding of who I am and why I’ve chosen Striking Statements as the vessel through which I share my gift.
The experiences, the pain, and the person that led me to my purpose all pertains to you.
The date was May 30th 2008. The day my son was born at home in a warm tub surrounded by my two midwives and boyfriend while my 5-year old daughter slept downstairs. What a peaceful birth it was, so serene and intimate. It was a gentle and sweet experience that I wish all mothers and fathers to-be could experience; a sharp contrast to the chaos and despair that was to come. Something that I would never wish on anyone.
My son Gabriel was born with Trisomy 13 or Patau’s Syndrome. Most of us are born with 23 pairs of chromosomes. In the case of Trisomy 13 there is extra material of chromosome #13 hence the name Trisomy.
When this happens, a myriad of physiological and development complications occur. The complications that babies born with Trisomy 13 have vary but the most common are those associated with breathing, heart function, and inability to eat. In addition, King Gabriel came forth without his sense of sight or hearing.
I was not aware of his prognosis during my pregnancy. My midwives wrote a referral for me to have my 5 month ultrasound but because my vitals were good and we didn’t want to know the sex of the baby, I passed.
Besides, I was a healthy 27-year-old who had given birth to a daughter who was just fine. I’d always heard that the likelihood of having a baby with a genetic disorder increased with age, so it was not top of mind for me.
My midwives called a doctor that encouraged them to get me to the ER after doing a physical examination of my son that showed his malformed left ear, an extra pinky digit, and six toes on each foot. From these physical indicators in addition to him not being able to keep warm and no interest in nursing; I knew something was wrong. I felt a tinge of dejection, like I didn’t want to hold him. He was also so quiet, no crying, just silence.
The events that happened within the next 48 hours were chaotic and extremely traumatic. Once we walked into the ER, Gabriel was placed on a steel table where he was surrounded by adults who wore latex gloves and face masks.
Cables with round stickers were placed on his little body for vitals, blood was taken for testing. The scene was very scary as things were becoming apparent that it wasn’t just me, there was something tremendously wrong.
After two long hours, they returned my son to me. We were quarantined (because I had my baby at home) in a small area within the NICU. I was given a piece of paper printed from the March of Dimes website that provided a very generic and dreadful description of Trisomy 13, the characteristics of such an affliction and the long-term life expectancy of 1 year. I was told that although the geneticist was not in and they were awaiting test results, from all appearances Trisomy 13 is what my son had.
We were doomed from the start.
I had never heard of this condition that I had just been told my son had and lots of questions were raging through my mind: Was I responsible? Could this situation have been prevented? Why is this happening to me? What are we going to do?
Pretty soon I became acutely aware that within the hospital environment, there are laws. Laws where textbook protocol outweighs the unique needs and outcomes of the individual. Laws that say a recommendation is really a mandate that will be bullishly enforced if declined.
In the hospital a patient and in particular my son, is looked at but not truly seen.
Gabriel was acknowledged for everything that was wrong instead of anything that was right. The focus was on his limitations rather than his capability.
He was my gift and I did my best to serve as an Ambassador for his greatest good even when I was pressured to do something I knew in my heart wasn’t right or when a nurse or doctor needed to hear that their approach or actions were wrong.
Gabriel’s first major medical procedure was not required for 4 whole months before needing to go to Children’s hospital to have a feeding tube inserted into his tummy. During a week long stay at Children’s hospital, I recounted to various doctors my specific experience with this beautiful soul born with a rare condition.
With each conversation, I listened as the same list of issues associated with Trisomy 13 were read and re-read culminating in a finale that always punctuated his 4-month to 1 year expiration date.
Throughout that experience I felt tremendous loneliness, despair, anger, and grief. At times I also felt overwhelming gratitude for being chosen for such a profound role. There was also love.
Pure, unconditional love was the only thing I felt from Gabriel.
Gabriel lived and loved for 177 days. In that short time he transformed me and made a huge impact on those who knew us.
He was my handsome boy. My honorable man. My Angel.
For the baby born unto me that had no words, I was fortunate enough to be his Ambassador who communicated on his behalf and stood up for what was best for him. With me, it was safe for him to be who he was.
This is the true story behind my purpose.
My gift is the ability to truly see you for who you are.
My purpose is to help you shine light on the parts that you think shouldn’t be seen. It’s important to give those parts some light because they are your biggest statements.
It’s the true story behind your purpose that will become the most relevant to the people you want to serve the most.
We have the privilege and the responsibility to share our gifts with the world.