THE COMPASS

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MY INSPIRATION…MY SADIE BY SHANNON SCHMIDT

My miracle, my inspiration and my hero entered my life in a flash… all one and a half pounds of her, 16 weeks early! In some ways it feels like just yesterday, as the emotions can come back so strong and clear. My third daughter who was frail, clinging to life and expected to die overnight would capture my heart, causing me, in a split second, to become her advocate.

Having almost lost her many times, over countless procedures and surgeries and a massive brain bleed, and with her consequent shunt placement behind us, we thought there was nothing that could be worse. It was then that we were dealt another blow. I was alone, rocking her in the NICU when I was told that our precious girl was deaf. It was a blow that I can still feel to the core of me.

I was somewhere in the cycle of grief about her early arrival and the serious impact it had on her brain and future development, so when the audiologist told me my baby had not heard me sing to her, talk to her, and pray for her for over 180 days in the hospital, I spun back straight to denial. It took time and patience, the support of my husband and daughters, and I soon came back up for air and began treading water again. Although the medical world gave us a very gloomy prognosis, with the worst case scenario, we fought on with hope, prayer and faith. Our lives were changed forever the day Sadie was born, and so were the lives of our first two children. We didn’t know the struggles we would face in days, weeks and months ahead. Living two lives, one in the NICU with my baby and one at home with my two other children, lasted six months.

It was the most difficult time in our lives. Looking back I have no idea how we did it. It is all a blur. But we put one foot in front of the other and made life work the best way we knew how. We could have never imagined how much this teeny helpless micro-preemie would teach us and change us for the better!

Six years later, looking back I see this as a beautiful journey. It is never easy; in fact, it is hard a lot of the time. I don’t like that my older two girls get the leftovers of me a lot of the time. I don’t like that Sadie experiences pain, hospitalization, fear, surgery and a childhood full of appointments instead of playdates. I don’t like that we have to make decisions that other families don’t have to make.

Looking back I have no idea how we did it. It is all a blur. But we put one foot in front of the other and made life work the best way we knew how.

But I love how far we’ve come. I love how much we’ve grown as a family. I love how much we’ve grown in our faith; I love the compassion that exudes from my family because of what our miraculous girl has taught us. I love that we’ve met people we’d never have met if our life was “normal.” I love that I get to celebrate milestones that other people take for granted. I love that I get to be these three kids’ Mom, and I wouldn’t change any of them for the world!

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