A Weekend Never to Forget

Yesterday was a day that I will never forget. I had the opportunity to share Kayleigh with one of my best friends who never got to physically meet Kayleigh, never got to physically hold Kayleigh, but has now truly gotten the chance to feel Kayleigh in his heart more than he ever has before.

Bo Dean is just one phenomenal guy who took the time to travel to Charlotte with me to walk in the March of Dimes walk with my family and then visit some of the Dr's and Nurses who took special care of Kayleigh at the hospital. He was able to see first hand the lives that Kayleigh had and continues to touch.

As I read his post this morning, I couldn't recreate in words what a special day yesterday was any better than the amazing words expressed from his heart. I have re-posted below what Bo had written, but you can visit his blog here:www.BoWilmington.blogspot.com

Here is what Bo had written:

If you have been reading this blog you know the story of Adam's gift to me and through his meeting Ashley and Kristi and how their love conspired to change my life and how all of us pray to pay it forward each and everyday. However, the root of Adam's inspiration to give, as you might recall, was the life of his and his former wife's child, Kayleigh Anne Freeman.

Adam and Aimee are the parents of a 1 pound miracle birth who overcame all odds to enter into this world. Kayleigh was, from all reports, recollections and stories, a force of nature...defying amazing odds and breathing into that tiny body a soul that, while not with us in body, is still very present to this day.
Since Adam became my trainer, then my friend, I heard and listened to stories and I read the blog about Kayleigh. I understood that what had so changed Adam as a person, what had changed his priorities, set him on the path that he now walks, created the desire to give the gift of life that he gave to me; all of that was from Kayleigh's life.

However, the connection became more real today as we traveled to Charlotte to walk in the March of Dimes walk and then go to visit a place that I am still processing as I write.
here is a link to the video we did from the walk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nePD8sAsZGs

Here are some photos from the walk and from Frazier Park where a brick was donated by Kayleigh's nurses in her honor.

The walk was great, but I want to talk about the visit that Adam took me to the Hospital where Kayleigh was born. When we got to the Levine Children's Hospital, I was not sure what to expect. It was breathtaking. Thousands of crystals strung from stories high in front of colored panels bringing in light and love from the moment we entered. There was a sense of peace and calm as we entered..but it was that light..that warmth...that sense of comfort that comes from feeling secure and 'held' that I now know is what I was feeling entering in that place.

We went to the 7th floor and when we got off the elevator, Adam knew, even with some changes that were going on, exactly what to do and where to go. He had walked this path with Aimee so many times before. We entered the Neonatal intensive care unit and faces lit up as soon as they saw Adam. It was as if those behind the desk saw a family member, someone who made them remember something very familiar and loving. That was the moment that I began seeing love in the room...God...it was so very powerful.

A woman named Marsha walked in. I had been told about her. She had been Kayleigh's primary nurse..and from the moment she stepped in, you could see not a face of someone silly with love and affection, but someone who was possessed of that kind of care and genuine love that is on the face and disposition of those who have seen death up close and personally, but believe in life more than most of us will ever know. She possessd a true gift. She was not alone.

She took us around the units. That is when it began to connect: the reality of what had happened here with the stories and the true miracles at work in this place. When the magnitude that is hitting me right now as I write( of all that I was seeing and saw today) really started to come together.

In the unit there were all these precious pods...in each was life. Some 2 lbs, some 3, some 1.4 lb..some with light warming them, some with respirators so technical a nasa engineer would be hard pressed to understand it. Each pod had a nurse giving nurture, care, and love. Each pod had a handmade quilt covering it so there was something loving and warming....but there were monitors and equipment..and each life..each soul was looking out for someone to help...to sustain. It is so overwhelming that image. And I thought of Adam and Aimee going each and everyday to the that unit with that precious child...and all of that....and the waiting..the procedures...the waiting...it all hit me....and I just swallowed hard trying hard to just be there for Adam as he experienced seeing everyone. I asked how many were there and was told that they could have and usually have 55 babies at a time, but right now they only had 30. I just could not get my head around 30! much less 55....and all those parents, and grandparents..all that prayers

But on the drive back today and then this evening, where I have literally done nothing but try and process the trip, It hit me: While I just could not understand or really even comprehend all those premature births..all that life struggling.....I could get my soul around all that Love.

See, all the stories I have heard about Kayleigh...It has all be about LOVE...Courage..Compassion. All those proceedures...all that waiting....all that nurture...all that time...it brought to focus what is and was important...LOVE! Above all things! LOVE! if for no other reason..those children in that unit bring the world to a stop for a moment...if just for a moment..someone..somebodys...a few souls...and they think about something other than...fill in the blank...and they send out love. For Kayleigh's blog..there were literally 1000's who prayed, sent messages, sent hope. 1000's who still do....and they stop whatever in their lives and think about LOVE...they think about this precious life.

It is so overwhelming. So very powerful!

I know for a fact from today, that i witnessed this love. As we walked through the unit, one of Kayleigh's very special nurses came out to hug Adam. When she saw our shirts, she commented on the ribbon that Mrs. Freeman had placed on each of them. Adam went to tell her that that was the ribbon of hope they had used when Kayleigh was alive. The nurse stopped him and said, "I know"..and as she pulled down her nametag...there on the back of it was one of Kayleigh's ribbons that had been there for the last two years. It had been there and remained there everyday that she worked.

It was also amazing to meet some of the Dr's who took special care of Kayleigh.

This was a short amount of what transpired here, but I hope I have been able to share what a powerful experience it was. Aside from the best husband in the world, I have been blessed with the best friend God could have granted me in Adam. But seeing this today and walking in this experience had brought me closer to the inspiration behind so much of the best of him and so much of now what has given me a new life: Kayleigh. I am eternally grateful to he and Aimee for being such good parents and being so loving to this beautiful child, but for sharing her with the world and letting her light shine so brightly!

I have learned over the last 22 years that it is not the amount of time that one lives that can be so significant, it is the quality of each day you live. This life...this little girl clearly lived each and everyday with courage, love, and conviction and a will that is not known by most of us...and we are all better because of her.

Like I said...Bo is an phenomenal guy and I am so appreciative of our friendship. Thank you Bo for all that you do for me, for our community and for every single life that you touch.

Just like Kayleigh....You're Amazing!

I Love you Brother!


Chris said...

so nice to see a post!! thank you for sharing! I think of you all often!

Kimmy B. said...

Wow, that was an amazing post!

Julie said...

I walked this past weekend as well in honor of my beautiful boy who was born prematurely. Ethan was born June 3 2008 just a few weeks before Kayleigh and he was my 3lb 9oz miracle. I am so blessed that he is here with me today. As we started out the walk I thought of Kayleigh and the little miracle that she was and still is. I can't believe that it has been almost 3 yrs since she grew her wings. I miss reading her story, she brought so much hope to the preemie world. Bless your sweet heart Kayleigh you will always be remembered.

Anonymous said...

I followed this story as closely as I could. Such an amazing story of love and life! I came across it again today to see if there were new posts. Once again my eyes filled up with tears! Amazing!!!

Jenney said...

Haven't read for quite some time, but I am so glad you are doing well. March of Dimes in a great organization. I will never forget Kayleigh and her journey as you shared it through your blog.

Anonymous said...

Kayleigh was put here so that you all can do all of the great things your doing now in her name. God simply used you guys. Kayleigh gave us light look at all of us...we see.Because of Kayliegh so many ppl are receiving help and understanding and I'd say shes a blessing to us all. Remember that God Is love and the joy of the lord is your straight so fined him and you will find peace within your heart.

Savanna Allen said...

Kayleigh is a gift from God she will always be remembered. She was a strong little girl who over came a lot of struggles. This is the first time that I have come across this blog and I will never forget this story for as long as I live. RIP Kayleigh you will never be forgotten

vicki said...

as me and my 10 yr old daughter read this we cried. this is amazing. im 10 yr old daughter was born with heart defects. they found out she had heart problems at 32 wks. they decided to take her by emergency c-section at Childrens and Womens Hospital in Mobile, Alabama cause her heart rate went to 27 and never would come up any futher. she stayed in the nicu for 6 wks came home on a heart monitor. when she was 4 months old she was sent to Tulane Hospital in New Orleans, La. they did open heart surgery on her she was there for 32 days. we lost her twice while in surgery her heart stopped, both lungs cloasped. she was sent home and then at 4 yrs old she was sent to UAB in Birmingham, Alabama. where she had a pace maker put in. Now she is 10 yrs old and is doing fine with her pace maker. i give thanks to all doctors and nurses who took care of her. She (Taylor Norsworthy) is a miracle to us too. god bless you and your family.

vicki said...

when me and my 10 yr old daughter was watching this about KAYLEIGH we just starting crying. i had problems with my 3 pregnacy. went to the doctor at 32 wks and they found my daughter to have a heart rate of 27 and they did everything they could do so they sent me straight to the hospital(childrens and womens usa in mobile al) they did emergency c-section where she stayed in nicu for 6 wks came home a monitor. then at 4 months old she was sent to TULANE hospital in New Orleans, La where she had open heart surgery.we lost her 2 times while she was in surgery. her heart stopped. and after she was in icu for 4 days when her right lung collasaped then a wk later her left lung collasped. she was in tulane for 32 days then she got to come home. and her surgery didnt fix the problem then so at 4 yrs old we was sent to UAB in Birmingham,Alabama where she had to have a pacemaker. and now she is 10 yrs old and is doing fine. But i couldnt have done it with out all the doctors and nurses from all three hospitals. Taylor leanne norsworthy is my miracle baby. i just pray to the good ole mighty Lord for him to keep her in my life. Our prayers go out to you and your family. vicki roberts from Mobile , Alabama

Anonymous said...

I am the mother of 2 micro preemies that where born at 26 weeks one weighed 1.4 lbs and the other weighed 1.9 lbs. Both of my children are with the lord.. I read Kayleighs story often.. I am so glad she was able to spend the amount of time with her family that she did. Following her story was very hard and very helpful. My children where born February 11, 2008 and was taken from me March 31,2008.. Kayleigh being born helped me move forward.. Thank you little angel. I miss reading your story..

Anonymous said...

I like your last posting by anymoues, because I think that person really knows what Kayliegh's little life was showing..How much God loves us, and how He does things without us being of any help, He just loves!
Nothing is impossible for Him, We just have to believe what He says. "Do you believe in god or do you believe Him!?"

Anonymous said...

is she alive still or no
she is a really beautiful little girl

Jessica Schatzke said...

OMG she was born on my birthday! I just recently saw her story on YouTube. I cried when I came across her story. I had a little brother named Chase who was born on March 1 of this year and died on June 16, which was actually his initial due date. When he was born he suffered respiratory problems, a subdural hematoma, a stroke, and many seizures. The doctors gave him 3 hours to live and miraculously he made it 3 months but we still miss him every day. R.I.P. Chase Alexander Schatzke 3/1/2011-6/16/2011

Anonymous said...

i am 15 years old and you would think that i am way up in my head but i think that that your baby was a work of art sent from above and the parents should be very proud about what kayleigh went through to get that far and since i came across the video in youtube.com and saw the posts, my eyes fled up in tears with such a inspiring little baby girl and her loving parents...she should be proud to...all i have left to say now is that i wake up every morning thinking about her and fall asleep every night playing to her name...-Vanessa!!(: <3<3<3

Tina Hendrich said...

Wow ! Beautiful Baby Girl...Kayleigh Anne..Her Strength, ever so strong. Her Beauty Radiates. And Her Light Shines Bright still to this day..! This message has so touched my heart she has touched more lives than she even knows. Angel she is.. God Bless Kayleigh's family each and everyday..In Your Name Jesus..Amen

Tina Hendrich said...

Also, my daughter Savanna Morgan Hendrich was born at 30 weeks at 4pounds 4 ounces on Nov.20,2004. She went down to 3 pounds 12 ounces. She came home after 3 weeks at 4 pounds 10 ounces. I so realize I am lucky to still have her with me. I will read Kayleigh's story to her soon and she may want me to type a comment to you as well. God Bless You

Anonymous said...

i am so sorry to hear about your beauitful baby girl.. this story was so sad.. i had my little girl at 25 weeks and she weighed 1 lb and 10 oz.. i know what yall went through.. its so hard.. when she was born they told us she would not make it past a few days. even though she was born really early and had alot of problems she is now 7 years old and doing so good.. also my little brother had a baby in 2009 that was born at 23 weeks and he only weighed 1lb ..he lived 2 hours and was called home to god.. i know its had when we loose our beauitful babies but we know they are with god and happy.. will never hurt and is in god's hands.. and we will see them again one day soon.. god bless your family...