Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Quick Downpour

Well the good and strong feelings have mostly continued. They have buoyed me up through what could have been some "triggering" things that I have watched or heard. Overall I am feeling really good.

I did have one downpour yesterday for about 15 minutes. Just a few minutes before I was supposed to leave for the school to volunteer I got a phone call. It was a man from the organ donation coordination place. He was calling to let us know that both of Camille's heart valves have been used and at least one of them was used in a child.

His call unsettled me. I have always been very pro organ donation. I am an organ donor on my driver's license. I believe it in it. When Camille was in the hospital I really hoped and prayed that, if she had to die, she would at least be able to donate her organs. Unfortunately, her organs began to deteriorate and become unusable.

I was very sad about not being able to donate her heart to another child. The night she died we went home to our own house. I had not been sleeping for about 3 days. I took a sleeping pill that night and finally got some much needed rest. I was awoken at 5 am by a phone call. I am not sure you can understand just how "out of it" I was when I answered this phone call.

It was the organ donation people asking if I was willing to donate Camille's heart for her heart valves. She had only been dead about 12 hours. I was so upset at them for waking me up like that. I told them that I couldn't really think about that right now and that they would need to call back at a decent hour. Then I hung up.

Jon had his head about him more and through lots of tears we reasoned that we may as well do what we could. He called them back and authorized the donation.

It has been over a year now since that day. And now there are two little parts of my baby girl out there in the world somewhere helping someone else live. Two other families get to have their loved one with them longer. I never could have imagined the strange mix of emotions this fact raises in my soul. I am grateful and happy and at the same time I am a little jealous and mad and sad.

I am still strongly in favor of organ donation. I would have made the donation again if I had to choose now. But I guess I just know it from a different perspective now. I have a more balanced view. I know the emotions attached to each little tiny part of a tiny little person you have loved and grown in your belly and fed at your breast and cared for. I helped create those heart valves through my morning sickness and sleepless nights. And I meant to be creating them for my little Camille to use, not some other nameless faceless person in the universe.

But now she no longer needs them. And someone else does. So now my pains and sacrifice are blessing some other family somewhere and I am journeying through grief. I am happy she was able to bless other's lives. I am so grateful her gifts were used and that two families have had their prayers answered. It is a blessing. Just a really hard blessing to take in. And so I had a 15 minute downpour of confused emotions. Then I went to the school and made photocopies. And suddenly the world seemed normal again.

18 comments:

a.k.a. Jack said...

Oh, Stephanie. I wish I could come give you a hug. Maybe those who received Camille's valves will not always remain nameless and faceless. Love you,
Jenny

Katie Jo said...

I think you are a truly amazing person. You always put things into perspective. I am an organ doner, and have always thought wonderful things of it, but always wondered how I would feel if someone were to ask me for one of my loved ones organs. There are definitely pros and cons, but I always thought I would think along the lines of the afterlife, and how we don't NEED our physical bodies there, so people should be able to use them here if they can. Thank you for your thoughts... it shows that even though you think that way, it is still a hard decision. You are a wonderful Mother and give me inspiration every day!

Anonymous said...

My friend's little brother passed away at eleven and his organs were donated. They received a letter telling them where his organs had gone, to me, the best story was about his corneas. They went to a young man in his early twenties, who had been blind his entire life, he had the transplant surgery two weeks before he was to be married, and was able to see at his wedding.

James and Sarah Narramore said...

You are AMAZING!! You give me so much inspiration and I look forward to reading your blog. Would you be okay meeting these people that have a little bit of your daughter? I know a lot of people that receive organs want to find the donator and thank them.

Anonymous said...

That is amazing. You are such a strong, inspiring person. You make me appreciate my baby girl so much more.

Diana...aka...MeMe said...

I, too, am an organ donor, but, I can only imagine what a difficult decision it would be to have to make for one of my children. I feel I would also have such mixed emotions. I wish you peace in your heart while you wait to see Camille again.

She Made Mention said...

I sometimes find myself reading your blog when I'm feeling weak... (linked from another blog). I have been blessed with 2 beautiful children. After having a miscarriage nearly a year ago, I am now 4-5 weeks away from delivering a baby girl. She has some very complicated heart defects (Ventral Septal Defect and Pulmonary Atresia). Her name is going to be Lilliana Faith. I was so touched by your blog because I have often wondered these last few months if we should donate her organs, if for some unfortunate reason... she passed. I also wonder if there is going to be a time in her life... through many expected surgeries, if SHE might need a heart replacement. It has been fresh on my mind and after reading your blog, I feel inspired that we should donate because if Lilliana needs a replacement and could live her life... why wouldn't I want the same for another. However, I understand where your jealousy issues come about. She was YOUR camille... and those were hers & ...yours! You are an amazing woman and I appreciate your faith, spirit, and your example. Thanks!

Sue said...

I love how you move through your emotions so honestly. I'm sure it helps the healing process immensely.

Your feelings about the donation, by the way, make perfect sense to me.

=)

Kathy said...

I love this post. My twin daughters (who will be 16 next month) took driver's ed this summer and one day they had a talk about organ donation. It was one of their favorite lessons. They both told that if anything ever happened to them that they wanted their organs donated to help others. I think that if Camille had been able to, she would have told you the same thing and now she's watching over a couple more people who she has helped have a better life.

Angie said...

I really can't even wrap my brain around this, but I have a close friend whose little boy's life was saved by a liver donation from a baby (she lost her first son to the same disease--no donor) She wanted to contact the family, to thank them in person (this was about 3 or 4 years after the transplant) but the organ donor foundation said that the family didn't want to meet her. I remember her telling me that at first she was shocked and a little hurt, but then she thought about it from their angle and decided that if her first son had been able to donate, she might not want to meet the recipient either. She said, "I think I'd be mad that their child was alive with my son's organ and my son was gone." It gave me a lot to think about. I now have a lot of sympathy for donors' families while at the same time a lot of joy for recipients...thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Love and hugs.

Jane

lovinglife said...

my nephew was born with pulmonary artresia among other heart problems. his life was very fragile and they had to operate when he was 6 months old. the surgeons were going to put in a "pig valve" but when they came out of surgery, they said they were able to put in a human valve--because they had gotten a donor that day. my nephew is alive today because of selfless mothers and fathers who make the hard decision you did. my nephew is 3 years old now and runs around like a normal little boy thanks to a kind mother and father just like you. thank you!

Cardalls said...

If you want to read the other side of organ donation please go to my brother-in-laws blog www.livingforeden.com. He just received a new heart and a new lease on life last Wednesday. Thank you from the bottom of my very grateful and full heart for being a donor...I know it can't be easy to think about and decide in the midst of grief....but it means so much to the one who receives it. It has been a long journey and I am so grateful to that selfless donor family!

Anonymous said...

I am a cornea recipient and I often wonder what the eye behind the "other" cornea saw (the donor). Due to 7 retina surgeries and subsequent cornea disease, I am still blind in that eye but free from excruciating pain from each eye blink.
I am an organ donor, of course, and they can take what they need when I go.
All will be restored in the Resurrection.
Camille lives on.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog and feel your emotion come through to my heart. I have never left a comment because so many do for you to read. But today I want to share that you have the right emotion regarding the organ donation. My 19-year-old daughter shockingly passed quickly from us because of a single car accident. We live in Vegas and she was nearing stateline. She was always adamant about being an organ donor so it was stated on her license. Unfortunately her young, healthy, body was not considered because of the time it took for her to be cared for within that state because she wasn't at home. I know that I would never want her to be subjected to that removal but also know I would have done it for her and for the others that wait daily for such donations. You are commended for your sacrifice. P.S. there is a comment on sugardoodle.net from a fellow sister who lost her 2 month old last week and is seeking mourners to pray with her for strength. Perhaps you can give her a note of strength?

Marylin said...

Thank you for this! All my love

Anonymous said...

"Maybe those who received Camille's valves will not always remain nameless and faceless"

I agree with the person that wrote that. Those ppl are children of God too and the gift you and Camille gave will touch them forever on earth and have eternal rewards as well. Hugs

Twinkletoes said...

Wow - an unbelievably powerful and honest message. Thank you for sharing!