Eight years ago I was packing to go to Baylor hospital in Grapevine. I checked in the night of 9/1/2008 and the staff administered some medication to try to start my labor with Jude overnight. Unfortunately that didn't work so the next morning bright and early they administered pitocin. 12 hours later on 9/2 Jude was born and scored a whopping 9.9 on his APGAR test. After a very scary pregnancy Jude was with us and was beautifully perfect. I cradled him in my arms and took in his sweet smell. Jude has always smelled like fresh linen and sweet fruit all mixed together. I would nuzzle into his hair and whisper sweet loving comments into his ear. This would be the trend for the next 7 years plus.
He brought us a lot of joy but we had some significant issues with Jude's sleeping and eating habits. We would later learn that this would all be attributed to the brain damage the stroke caused. Most of Jude's life was a hurry up and wait situation but in the end it all had the same answer and that answer was "Intrauterine Stroke." At three months old while we were busy watching TV Jude began to open and close his mouth over and over again. I realized this was not normal and then audible sounds began streaming out of his mouth. I realized my baby was having a seizure and that was the beginning of a very long hard road.
Jude spent many birthdays and holidays in the hospital or at home sick. On his second birthday we had an amazing party planned with one fabulous cake but Jude wound up in a Dallas medical center with his first onset of aspiration pneumonia.
Jude never ate by mouth again when we left the hospital. We were also told that Jude would need a nurse and an agency sent out the amazing Charlotte. Over the course of the next several years we would walk Jude's difficult path together planning his care, visiting doctors, going to the hospital, and setting up his school. A year later we picked up nurse Allen and we all began to form a family bond around Jude and his needs. We all spent many of Jude's birthdays together and happily celebrated his life at each one. We realized that the miracle of Jude was not the healing of his body but realizing the perfect blessing in the amazing person he was. Jude's struggles, celebrations, and joys danced across my blog pages leaving some readers with a new appreciation of life. All because this one little boy encountered one of the worst tragedies possible but faced it with a smile and love. Jude was a normal little boy but his brain was just compromised by a mere second of fate.
I am thankful for those seven birthdays I got to spend with Jude but man how I wish he was here now. Of course I am glad Jude is no longer suffering but he never should have suffered in the first place. Random chaos strikes without warning or explanation and you just have to roll with it. Sometimes I just want to run to Jude's grave and dig until I find him but I know he isn't there. So Friday is his first birthday in heaven. Mike and I have taken the day off work to be with each other and that evening Jude's headstone will be placed. We are going as a family to see it and send some sweet wishes to our little angel boy. I will share the headstone with everyone when we have pictures. If anyone would like to go visit him I would suggest going Saturday or Sunday to make sure the stone is positioned and ready. Jude is buried at the I.O.O.F cemetery in Westlake. When you pull into the front entrance his spot is directly to the right by the tree.
Happy Birthday Jude. We love you.