Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Rachel's Journey: A Photo Scrapbook

A little less than a month ago, my cousin who is a NICU nurse at a local hospital approached me about making Rachel's story into a photo book. She told me that periodically she has babies that are born with a cleft and while they do have a photo book of a child with a cleft on the hospital unit, the book doesn't go past the first year. My cousin knew I'd kept a blog for Rachel and shared way beyond the first year of Rachel's life and knew it would be helpful for families on the same journey. 

When Rachel was born, we had no idea what having a cleft baby entailed, when the surgeries would be, or how many for that matter, we had trouble feeding her, we had a ton of questions. We had a friend who printed countless pages of information from the internet and brought them to us at the hospital. They were helpful to some degree, but we were overwhelmed. If only there had been a person who could tell us themselves how this would all work out, we would have felt so much relief.

For years I've wanted to be a resource to parents who'd given birth to a baby with a cleft. Many, many times I talked to the social worker at our Craniofacial Team appointments sharing my desire to be a resource and while the social worker thought it was a great idea, nothing ever came to fruition. So I poured myself into Rachel's Journey and through the years have met countless families over the internet who have had babies born with a cleft lip and palate. I have been able to offer tips, advice, encouragement, and have special bonds with these Moms despite having never met in person, with the exception of just two, all because we have cleft affected children.

So when my cousin approached me about making a book, I knew with all my heart it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up.

I put together the book in a matter of a week and a half. And then I took the time to edit, fine tune my words, and to just let it sit. It was very emotional for me putting together this book. Revisiting each road block, bump, and detours of this journey has reminded me once again how the Lord has been so, so good to us throughout Rachel's Journey.

I finally sent it off to be published last week. I ordered one to give to the hospital in which my cousin works at, and I ordered one for ourselves. 

It arrived today. And I'm moved to tears all over again at seeing how far our little Rachel has come. And I could not wait to share it here on her blog for all to see!!!

The book is 26 pages. It starts with newborn pictures of Rachel, gives pictures and details about the five surgeries she's had, shares pictures and information about her need for Speech Therapy, tubes in her ears, her brain anomaly diagnosis, as well as helpful information in regards to feeding a cleft baby, arm restraints, and even information pertaining to her dental and orthodontic issues. 

Once I deliver this book to the hospital, I  have no idea who will see this book, I pray it encourages families. I hope and pray they will contact me so I can offer help and encouragement to them in person. But most importantly, I hope it opens the door to being able to share the Lord and all He's done for us on this Journey thus far!!