An award, but so much more

Yesterday was a very busy day for me.
It started early, around 7am, waking up with the Monkey.
Conference call at 9:45 for Work Force job through Baby's First Test.
Meeting at 12:30 for my 1st part time job.
Then there is some scrambling around so that I won't be late for my own award ceremony!

When I arrive, I first notice the two news stations and the newspaper reporter, then I see there is a table with a giant heart shaped heart. I look up to see a few friends, my parents, some people I don't know, and my people from the American Heart Association. I'm tickled to see a friend of mine from gym class; she saw my Facebook post about heading to the hospital for a ceremony and since she works there, she thought she would stop by and see what was happening.
After saying hi, they began.

My dear friend Molly, who works at the hospital, teaches the newborn and pregnancy classes, and was there for both of the births of my boys, said a few words first. She mentioned the cover photo on my FB profile and how it says "Don't you ever. Don't ever give up." and how she felt that was my mantra through the past year and how she was very proud of all I had helped accomplish.

Then she introduced Dr. Phillips, who was one of Corbin's cardiologists. He spoke of how he met me and how he was impressed that I had taken something so tragic and made something good come out of it. He said that in his line of work, then sadly do have babies that do not make it and how he sees how the parents are affected. He said some "let their childloss define them, but there are a few who take that loss and do something great from it."

Here I am trying not to cry.

Next was Chuck from the American Heart Association. He also spoke of how he met me and about our journey through introducing the bill and having it pass so successfully.

He then presented me with the Distinguished Achievement Award for 2012 from the American Heart Association. It is simply beautiful; made by a six year old, three time heart surgery survivor named Alexa. I was so touched, I started crying and could not get my thank you out. I had to take a minute to gather myself before I could go on. 
I said thank you, and how I could not have done it without the AHA, my heart mom's Kathy and Michelle, and the thousands of people who sent emails to legislators. That support is was got our bill passed and I am eternally thankful. I brought up what Dr. Phillips said about some parents that take loss and do good from it. I said there are parents who lose a child and can't go on, but that is ok. There is nothing wrong with grieving your child. I just felt like I could not go on after losing Corbin and not share what I had learned. I could not let this happen to anyone else. I knew there was something I could do and my loss was my drive. Corbin taught me so much and I had to share that with the world.

I was then interviewed by two news stations about the bill and my story. They asked if Corbin had been tested earlier with pulse ox if it would have saved his life. I said no, I don't believe he would have been saved since he did show a couple signs of there being a problem, BUT there are babies out there who look great, are pink, have good apgar scores, but have a hidden heart defect that could be deadly. That is why pulse ox is so important. To catch those babies and to save a life. 

Next there was a lot of picture taking, some cake, and a lot of hugs. 

I cannot adequately describe the amount of love I felt that day. It was just so warm in that room, so full of happiness and hugs, I loved every minute of it. It felt great to be recognized for my work and to be honored in such a way. It felt surreal to have that much attention on me but I give all the credit to Corbin and his amazing life. I would  not be where I am now without him, my family, my friends, and all the amazing, inspiring people I met along the way. It was just divine.

Next, Molly, Dr.Phillips and I headed upstairs to the nursery. A mom had volunteered her newborn son to be tested with pulse ox on the telemedicine system as a sort of presentation. The news stations didn't follow but the newspaper reporter did. 
Forgive me for not taking pictures!! I wasn't sure if I could and I was just so overwhelmed, I didn't bring my camera into the room. 
They brought in this tiny little newborn boy into the nursery and on the right is a computer monitor that is connected to they system in Morgantown so the doctors can chat in real time. The quality is AMAZING. The cardiologist on the other end can tell accurately is the baby is jaundice, or pink, if they are breathing heavy or normal. It's amazing. 
So Molly hooked up the pulse ox to baby Ethan and I got real nervous. No one had told me if he had been tested already, or if this was his first time. I just started praying "please don't fail, please don't fail". I could not handle it if that little boy failed the screen, right there in front of me. It took probably about a minute or two before his percentages climbed and stopped changing, but oh Lord, I was nervous.
Dr. Phillips turns to me and whispers "Wouldn't it be awful if he failed right here?". I nervously laughed and said "Already thought about that!". 
Turns out this was his second screening so they knew already he had passed. But no one told us! It's sort of funny looking back, but I never thought about how I would feel if I was present when a baby got tested. I will leave that to the nurses, I cannot handle that kind of suspense!

 There was an earlier conversation that could possibly be a life changer, I don't want to say just yet, but do say a prayer for me that this good news does come to pass!!!!!

I left out a lot of conversations and hugs but just imagine a room full of the most important people in your life who are there to say they love you and they are proud of you. It had to be my most favorite day yet. 

Besides the day the bill passed of course!!

Finally, here are the two news pieces from that day.


What a day! Thank you to everyone who came to support me, I truly cannot express how thankful I am and how loved I feel right now. Thank you, thank you!