Sweet Lincoln

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When we were at Riley with Lincoln, I really bonded with one of the music therapists there. She was so sweet, and would come in with her guitar and sing to him. The music was soothing… I usually just sat there and cried while she serenaded him. It was a true moment of peace in his PICU room.

I showed her pictures and videos of Lincoln because I wanted her to know that he was so much more than the silent little body lying there… he was a smiley, happy, intelligent little boy, who had an incredible bond with his parents. She sang a song to him called “Sweet Little Lincoln,” that just made me fall apart when I heard it. The words say “dear sweet little Lincoln, our sweet little boy, we love sweet little Lincoln, he brings us so much joy. And when we’re together, O how happy we’ll be, ‘cause we love sweet little Lincoln because he is so sweet.”

After Lincoln passed away the music therapist came to our room to help console us and offer her condolences. As we hugged she asked if there was anything she could do for us. I asked her if there was some way we could have a recording of the “Sweet Lincoln” song. I was thrilled when she said she would go record it right away.

We ended up playing this song at his funeral. I cherish this song, and I will always have it bring me comfort and memories of my sweet baby boy.

It is because of our experiences at Riley with our awesome music therapist, I have decided to go back to school and get my music therapy certification. I already have my B.A in Applied Voice from IWU, so I applied and was accepted late last year to St. Mary of the Woods College. I will be going through their Music Therapy Equivalency Distance (MTED) program. This certification will be an equivalent to a B.S. in music therapy. I have been taking the prerequisite psychology classes since January to get ready to begin my music therapy classes this fall. I will be heading there for a short 3 day residency in August, where I will get to meet my professors and attend some music therapy classes and seminars. I am incredibly excited that I have begun this journey! If I can touch one life the way the music therapist at Riley touched mine, I will be so thrilled. I can’t think of a better way to use my gifts and abilities to help others, honor the memory of my son, and to share the love of God.
The “Sweet Lincoln” song is below… I’d love for you to take a listen ❤

Safe in My Arms

Well, it’s official. Lincoln has been in heaven longer than he was here with us, sans belly time. It is so unbelievable. Time has pretty much stood still for us, and yet moves at lightening speed all at the same time.

It’s absolutely exhausting missing my son. I was on my way to work today when In My Arms by Plumb came on the radio. The song talks about holding your baby safe in your arms through the storms of life. I couldn’t help for feel the intense pain from my own empty arms that ache for my son. I know that he is safe in the arms of the Father until we can be reunited. That knowledge brings comfort, but it doesn’t stop the tears from flowing. I’ve copied a link below so everyone can listen, and if you’ve never heard it, you will soon know why I was a hot mess by the time I got there. I always wear waterproof eye makeup now because I never know when a cry fest might arise, so of course on the day I ran out, I have a mini meltdown. I walked into work with two black stripes running down my face.

I wanted to give an update as far as Jeremy and mine’s genetic testing. We found out 3 months ago exactly what type of Leigh’s Disease that Lincoln had, and we have been waiting to hear back from our contact at Riley Children’s Hospital about if our insurance will pre approve our testing. We finally heard back last week but it was not the news we were expecting. The doctor we’ve been working with lost our info and never submitted our application for pre approval. So we’ve basically been waiting these last 3 months for nothing. Very frustrating. Please be praying for quick responses from doctors and our insurance companies.

I submitted Lincoln’s name to be worn by a volunteer at the annual Walk to Remember in Chicago that is hosted by the Compassionate Friends. It was very moving to see the picture with his name listed

Walk to Remember 2014

Walk to Remember 2014

I’ve learned already what deep sorrow I will forever carry on this journey as a child loss mommy. I have a Lincoln sized hole in my heart and I know that it will be there until we are together again one day.

Part 3 – Valentine’s Day

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever” ~ A. A. Milne

The doctors performed rounds early every morning. They would go around to each patient’s room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and stand in the door way with all of their clip boards and traveling computers. They would discuss Lincoln’s progress, how things went the previous day, medications, test results, possible diagnoses, and the action plan for the day. Jeremy and I always tried to be there during the rounds so we could listen in and make sense of all the medical lingo they were saying in reference to our son. They decided to try and slowly turn down Lincoln’s respirator because he appeared to be breathing well, and he was initiating most of his own breathing without the help of the machine. I remember thinking how crazy that was that they could tell all that from looking at a monitor.

The results for Lincoln’s MRI had been analyzed and Dr. Brault wanted to know if we were interested in seeing the images. They brought in a computer on wheels that had a large screen and immediately started walking us through several pictures of his brain. It was so surreal. The pictures were hard to look at, but Jeremy and I both wanted to see them. Lincoln’s brain glowed brightly on the screen, but we quickly saw what had been alluded to the previous evening… he had dark shadowy splotches all over his brain. We were told that all of the dark spots were where brain death had occurred, and that they were keeping a close eye on Lincoln for brain swelling because sometimes dead brain tissue can also damage the surrounding good tissue. The doctor than pulled up the image of Lincoln’s brain stem and the entire center was black. I was crushed when I saw that picture. The darkness in the brain stem was what led them to believe that he would never be a functioning baby again. In a way, viewing the pictures kind of made everything sink in and become tangible. Dr. Brault also said the results showed that Lincoln did not have a corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain. The side effects can range from undetectable to very serious. They thought that the missing corpus callosum more than likely attributed to his eating difficulties.

Dr. Brault said that because of clear metabolic issues, symptoms and the missing corpus callosum, they now believed that the top contender for Lincoln’s diagnosis was Leigh’s Disease.  Leigh’s Disease is an extremely rare neurological metabolic disorder. We were told that there is no cure,and very few treatments, but they were going to begin them right away. They were going to be giving him a “cocktail” of vitamins and a special diet, along with the sodium bicarbonate (for his acidosis) and seizure medication.

If you would like to read more about Leigh’s Disease, please visit these sites that helped me to understand a little about what was going on in my little boy’s body. It is a very complicated and rare disease, with several variations, and multiple inheritance patterns.

http://www.umdf.org/site/c.8qKOJ0MvF7LUG/b.8637485/k.8A22/Leighs_Disease.htm

http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/leighsdisease/leighsdisease.htm

http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/leigh-syndrome

We were left alone for awhile to let all this new information sink in. There are too many thoughts, emotions, and feelings to even try to convey here. A nurse walked in and began hook up Lincoln’s treatment to his IV. She asked if we were doing anything for Valentine’s Day. I merely said “no” amazed that she asked us that, first because I forgot it was Valentine’s Day, second because how in the world could we possibly be thinking of going off and celebrating right now?? Looking back now, I know that Jeremy and I “celebrated” our love in our own way that day by supporting each other and being there together going through a tragic situation side by side. We never lashed out or blamed each other for anything. We were standing together with our son firmly on true love for one another. When you go through something like this it changes your relationship forever. You either grow closer together, or let it tear you apart. There cannot be an between. We have learned to really cherish each other.

I remembered that somehow in the rush of swinging by our house to get some clothes and stuff on the way to Riley that I had somehow managed to grab the bag that had the Valentine’s hat and socks in it that I had bought Lincoln just a few days ago. I had Jeremy run and get the bag from the car after asking the nurse if it was ok. When he returned we put on his little “Heart Breaker”  hat and socks that said “I ❤ YOU”. I stood by him looking over him as he laid there in his festive little ensemble. I remember think that the “heart breaker” on his hat had kind a double meaning because our hearts were breaking, just not for the reason the hat was implying.

 

Bubby in his Valentine's outfit

Bubby in his Valentine’s outfit

 

I always dressed Lincoln in the month’s holiday apparel when I took his 1 – 4 month pictures. I was so terrified that there wouldn’t be a 5 month picture to add to our collection. The nurses just raved and raved over his little “outfit”. I had to agree that he was the most adorable boy ever. Jeremy and I decided to go get something to eat and talk some things over, and while we were gone the nurses made adorable Valentine’s for us from Lincoln with his foot prints on them. They are some of our most treasures possessions.

 

Valentine's from Lincoln to Mommy and Daddy.

Valentine’s from Lincoln to Mommy and Daddy.

 

I wanted to get something for Lincoln because I knew this could be our only Valentine’s Day together so I ran down to the gift store before they closed with my sister and my cousin Amber. Now mind you, there are three gift stores in Riley, so you can imagine us running around like crazy people trying to find these shops. We ended up going to two of the three because the first one just didn’t have a card that I liked well enough, so off we go, running to the next store in a mad dash! I ended up getting a little tiger, a balloon, and a card for Lincoln. Other people bought him cards and animals as well. The end of his bed filled up pretty quickly.

 

Lots of Valentine's for our baby!

Lots of Valentine’s for our baby!

 

Jeremy broke down as we signed Lincoln’s card as he realized he had never signed “Daddy” before. It was a long, long day, but we tried our best to make it special for him. I whispered in Bubby’s ear that he was my little Valentine and gave him a kiss on his little cheek, still puffy from trauma. He is the best son I could of ever dream for… You will always be my special Valentine Lincoln, mommy loves you! ❤

 

Be My Valentine

Be My Valentine