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WARNING: THIS IS A REAL LETTER FROM A REAL MOTHER.

THE CONTENTS OF THIS LETTER ARE GRAPHIC AND UN-EDITED.

Message Recieved: 5/10/2011

Child: Lily

DOB: 04/30/08

Date Shaken: 03/16/09

Age: 3

My story: On March 16, 2009 my life changed in a way I never thought possible. Before I go on, there are a couple things you should know about me. To start I have a beautiful two year old daughter named Lily, and she is my world. My daughter is my everything and the reason I am still in school today. She is the reason I get up in the morning.

When Lily was around six months old I met a boy named K. S. At first K. and I started off as friends, and eventually it led to a relationship. He immediately showed love and care for my daughter and treated her as if she were his own child.

About four months into the relationship K.'s mother kicked him out of their house. My mother allowed K. to stay with us for a couple weeks until he found a job and a new place to live. Little did we know weeks would turn into months. At the time I was attending School and had maxed out my absences so I couldn't miss anymore days. On March 16, I woke up very late for school, I want to say around 1:15, and school got out at three. I was very stressed and worried about losing credit.

K. then pointed out to me that by the time I got me and Lily ready, school would be over, and that he would watch her. By this time my family and I trusted K. with the baby and felt that it would be safe to leave her with him for short periods of time. Before I left for school I wrote down the phone number for my moms, my grandmas and my cell phone. I also left him the school number and told him that if he couldn't handle it to call me or my mom and one of us would come home. He said ok and not to worry and that everything would be fine...

When I came home from school that day K. told me that Lily was taking a nap in my room and not to wake her. I also noticed that he looked like he was having a great day and nothing was on his mind. I quietly poked my head in my room and saw that Lily was indeed "sleeping" so I continued to let her nap for a little longer. An hour or so went by and I thought to myself that it was not normal for my baby girl to be sleeping this long and that it was time to wake her up.

When I entered my room and uncovered Lily, I found her in nothing but a diaper. I lifted her out of bed and noticed that I couldn't move her arms or legs; she was stiff as a board. I rushed to the living room, where K. was sitting on the couch, with my unconscious baby in my arms. I asked K. if anything had happened while I was gone. He said nothing happened and that he had no idea of why she was acting the way she was. I immediately called my grandma and asked her to come over and to call an ambulance on the way.

The ambulance showed up about two minutes after my grandma did. They set my daughter on the couch and started working on her; it was the scariest thing in my life. Next thing I knew I was hearing the men say "we're losing her we need to get her to the hospital now!" They made me ride in the front of the truck so I couldn't see what was going on. There I sat in the waiting room for well over an hour pacing, dying to know what happened to my little girl. Finally Dr. J, the Neurologist who did her surgery pulled my mom, my grandma and I into the little meeting room in the corner. I still remember his words like it was yesterday.

"Ms. S. there is no easy way to say this, your daughter is in critical condition. What has happened to this baby is very, very serious. I believe she has suffered from shaken baby syndrome. The left side of her brain is swelling and is causing pressure against her skull. I don't expect her to survive but we are going to perform another surgery to remove part of the skull to let her brain swell out. Overall I would give her about a 5% chance to survive this surgery. I'm very sorry." I immediately fell to the floor in tears. This man was telling me that my baby, my world, something I had spent nine months making, and ten months raising, was being taken away from me? It wasn't fair, just plain unfair.

The surgery would take at least an hour. My family and I spent this time calling friends and family to let them know what happened. Within minutes the waiting room was full of loved ones there to support us. I sat crying in my best friends arms for what seemed like hours. All I could do was sit there and wait for someone to tell me that my daughter had either survived the surgery, or died. I prayed and prayed and prayed like the world was going to end.

The next thing I knew my best friends mom came running to me yelling "she survived the surgery!" Again I fell to the floor in tears. I couldn't believe it, my baby was alive. I would get to hold her in my arms again. I could continue being a mommy. My daughter spent a month in the hospital hooked up to tubes and ice-packs. Two weeks of that month she spent in an induced coma. Four times I was told that it was time to let my baby go. All four times I refused.

On March 16, 2009 my daughter was shaken and left to die on my bed by K. S. He spent months trying to cover up his story. In the end he finally admitted he shook Lily because he got frustrated and he didn't tell anyone because he didn't want to get in trouble. Dr. J. informed me that another hour of having a seizure on my bed without medical attention, my daughter would have died. After two weeks, I got to hold my daughter for the first time when she came out of her coma. She was let out of the hospital a week before her first birthday.

Today my daughter is blind, has partial paralysis on her left side and has multiple seizures a day that can no longer be controlled by medication. Everyday she fights, and everyday she proves the doubters wrong. She has come a long way. The doctors said that she would be a vegetable if she survived, but today she is a toddler learning to walk and talk. She is a little girl whose mommy loves her very much and would do anything to go back to that day and save her from a life sentence.

To this day I still hear the sirens of March 16th 2009. The sound of them slowly getting closer but not fast enough. I have flashbacks whenever a siren passes by. Want to know how I handle raising a child with disabilities? There is a poem titled "Welcome to Holland" I would like you to read on the internet that sums it up. My daughter may be different, but no matter what she is special and more than normal to her mother.

(NAMES HIDDEN TO PROTECT PRIVACY)

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