My child is a treasure; she is a huge part of my world. I can't imagine my life without her; she means that much to me.
My daughter is six years old. Kenna Beth is her name.
She is also disabled; you see that immediately upon meeting her.
Kenna wasn't always this way. She was born healthy; however, due to the abuse she suffered at the hand of my ex-husband, she's now marked for the rest of her life. Brain damage. Cerebral palsy. My husband shook her once too often because she wouldn't stop crying; she is an innocent victim of "shaken-baby syndrome".
It didn't have to happen.
I have been her primary caretaker for the past six years. It hasn't been easy: I have to feed her every five hours via a gastrostomy tube that's been surgically placed into her belly, near her belly button. I have to diaper her, dress her, brush her hair, as she can't do it by herself. She needs to be given meds every four hours, around the clock, to prevent pain. Seizures. Gastric reflux. Spasticity in her muscles, limbs. Antibiotics, so she doesn't end up in the hospital yet again.
Kenna was a beautiful baby when born: she had a tuft of reddish-brown hair. Big, dark eyes. Ten fingers, ten toes. She was perfect. Then my husband entered the picture, changed her life forever.
When I found out that he did this to my daughter, I wanted to kill him.
I will never forget the call from my mom that day. She was crying as she called; she said something terrible had happened to Kenna, and that she was now in the hospital, fighting for her life.
Somehow I knew Jeff (named changed) was behind it: he had a volatile temper; he could go off at any little moment; it didn't take much for him to get angry, even to the point of being out of control, violent.
I rushed to the hospital to see my baby. What I saw broke my heart in two. She lay there in the Pediatric ICU ward, a sea of tubes hooked up to her or in her, monitors recording her lifesigns. She was swollen to twice her normal size; she didn't resemble herself at all. There were no guarantees from the medical staff whether she would ever wake up again; if she did, she would be severely damaged.
Which, as it turned out, she was. She woke up two months later, but she wasn't herself. Kenna was a completely different child, a broken limb lying on the ground.
The anger I felt towards Jeff was indescribable. I couldn't forgive him for what he'd done to my baby.
*End of part one.*