what now...

Things were beginning to settle somewhat, sleep was non existent and David was a good baby thus far.  I had begin to communicate with David's father and of course keep record of every text, phone call or letter I received.  I did not know this man and had to remain the neutral party since he had not the best relationship with my folks, OK, my dad and we were still on the brink of "what-ifs" in regards to David's future. 

The girl's fell back into their schedules relatively quickly and helped out with David as much as they could and of course were on night watch since I worked nights. I had new appointments with the infectious disease doctor for David's follow-up and continued care that were coming up and I had to make sure I made all my court appointments that were set as well to stay in compliance with court orders.  This was a lot and way too much to stop and even think about, it was like I was in robot mode, it all needed to be done!  I had made little milestones to this point and gotten David off the Medi-Cal and added onto his father's insurance since he held a union job and it would suite David much better.  His father was contributing a small amount of money as well as buying cases of formula for David since it was a special prescription.

David was home for a couple of months now and he seemed to not be feeling well as I was getting ready for work, I had to go and my youngest was home with him this evening and I had a good friend on standby who said she could help if my daughter needed it.  I was just a phone call away and work was still pretty good about the whole situation.  Once he went to sleep he would be o.k. and on that note I kissed them both and I left for work, to be home about 0400 to make sure everyone was tucked in their beds nice and snug.

I had checked in with my daughter a few times during the night as she seemed to think he was getting worse, he was crying, not sleeping at all and now not eating either.  My friend had called a few hours later and said she was going over to get him an take him to her house, my daughter had called her crying and tired.  I was worried and told her I would come home right now, she told me he would be fine with her and I could just go home and sleep for a few hours and she would bring him home late morning.  I was hesitant but help at this point was welcome even when I was to stubborn to ask in the first place! 
I was about ready to get off and called to check in, my friend told me he was breathing funny and she had got him calmed down but he still had not eaten a whole lot, he had a slight fever and she said he sounded funny.  I told her I would be there in about 20 minutes and left work right on time and rushed over to her house to find this little boy in distress, his breathing was erratic and when he heard me his big ole' eyes focused on me as they begged me for help!  I thanked her for her help and keeping him for me and told her that I was going to go straight to Valley Children's Hospital and get him checked out, sleep was NOT an option at this point.  It was too early to call my folks or the girl's so I would get him seen and we would be home before anyone was awake and he would be just fine...

I arrived at the hospital and was seen almost immediately since I had such a small package and it was obvious he was in much distress by the time we arrived.  I was certain it was asthma as I had seen this same behavior in my sister before, but he was much much smaller and had not been officially diagnosed with asthma to this point.  The Dr came into the room and immediately seemed worried about his rhythms and placed him on oxygen, I was allowed to hold him the whole time, let them TRY to pry him from my arms.  The Dr confirmed his fever and ordered a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia as well but let me know he would be admitted this morning for further observation due to his age and size **sigh**, I started to ball, the nurse comforted me and I could not even begin to tell her what we had been through over the last 2 months!!

We were sent off for the chest x-ray, returned to the room and the Dr came in and confirmed he had the beginnings of pneumonia so we would definitely be staying this day and quite possibly a few more, they set the motions for us to be put on a floor in a solo room and I made the daunting phone calls since it was now at least 0630 or so and I still had half a brain left about me.



the deal

As the days moved forward and we all settled  into our routines, routines that were pretty easily skewed from hour to hour, it was apparent that this was not the norm.  It was not fair that this had happened nor that this little boy was left without his mother, a mother who was so excited and proud to have accomplished so much in her life at this point!  I'm find it tough to move past this/these thoughts but easy at the same time as my schedule allows me NO time to think of anything other than what is happening at any given second.

My parents and I had a few meetings with our attorney and the prelim court date was near, this I was NOT looking forward to.  My mom was still a mess, my dad had a lot of anger and especially towards David's father and me, well, who even knew or cared at this point. 
I worked and slept when I could and maintained life as I now knew it and made the best of it with what hand I dealt myself.  My girls were soon back to their school & work schedules and I was busy keeping up with Davids Dr's appointments and making sure I didn't miss anything, I could not afford to, the price for failure was way too expensive!

It was here, the preliminary court date, I was scared to death and got no sleep, this should be very interesting.  I made my trip to Madera, dropped David off with a long time high school friend so she could watch him while we were in court and then met my parents for breakfast before we went to the court house.  Breakfast was more like damage control with my dad and my mom sat quiet and cried the whole time.  I was worried what would be presented and what "information" the father actually had and what the outcome would truly be.  I knew in my heart he would not gain custody, well not today anyway and I was certain I was not going to be placed under arrest for 'stealing' his child. 

We made our way over to the court house and walked into our assigned court room where the father was waiting with his attorney and quickly summoned me out of the room, my dad glared daggers at them, I appeased him and left the room to have a discussion.  I was greeted by the father an then his attorney spoke the remainder of the time.  I had one very very small interaction with the father prior to Davids birth and other then that knew nothing of him, well only the bad from my father and the relationship issues my sister divulged to me. The attorney proceeded to tell me they were dropping all charges and were willing to make a visitation schedule and would be willing to meet with me after court to make the appropriate arrangements, etc.  I thanked them, as I felt I should at this point, I was still a VERY neutral party in all this and had to make sure I was equal on all sides, I had to completely remove myself at this point from my grief and anger and make this a business deal, that sucked!

The judge called our names, we all approached the table sitting on opposite sides.  The judge read over the papers filled on both sides and immediately threw his out as there was false information alleged and gave my parents full custody of David as they were legally bound since they were next of kin due to the death of the mother and no said father listed on the birth certificate.  This was a small victory as we were then excused after our attorney advised we would be seeking full legal custody as well as full legal guardianship of the said minor. 
The judge had set another court date for final review later in December and immediate paternal DNA testing as well as mediation for all 4 of us. 

This was an emotional victory and one that was far from over, there were SO many more components and it has just begun.  We walked over to Family Courts and set our mediation appointment and set the appointment with Family Child Services for the DNA portion of the testing David would have to complete. 

I left heavy hearted and let my parents know I was going back home once I picked up David, I was not going to come by, I had nothing left in me today.


sleep is over-rated...

The honeymoon is over, back to work it is and the a new schedule is in order, have I mentioned I am type A and NOT good with change?  I had not really thought about what I/we were gunna do when I went back to work as I worked nights and the girl's were in school and the oldest had a job.   I knew it would be difficult at best but it's what I/we signed up for, RIGHT?

I had set all the Dr's appointments and made some phone calls to make sure David was properly insured.  My sister had signed up for WIC and had David on county medical. 
I had to take David for an scheduled appointment and after sitting in the waiting room for over 2 hours when I was 20 minutes early for his appointment time, I was determined to make sure he had private insurance from that point on.  I'm not above the county system but this child was needing special care and I was confidant the system would fail him. 

 I had, at this point very little contact or knowledge of David's father.  I knew he had visited David once while he was in the hospital and he knew through my cousin and his circle of friends that David was with me and that I would be seeking guardianship.  I had talked extensively to my parents about this and they TOTALLY agreed but also wanted to be on the papers as well as they feared something would happen to me as it did their youngest child.  The last thing we wanted to happen was for this newborn baby to be turned over to his birth father. 
NOW, that sounds bad, this I know but this I do not regret saying, there was a long history of drugs involved with the father and there was a long history of abuse with my sister as well as temper issues in everyday life. 
This child was NOT going to fall through the cracks of the system, my determination was stronger than the hurt I had for the loss of my little sister!

I had avoided calling or making contact with his father since he knew where he was, he had shown NO sign of acknowledgement or interest.  My parents and I had contacted an attorney and had all our motions in place when we had him served his court papers to appear for the initial hearing for primary guardianship.  We had to make sure that everyone over the age of 18 in our family, including my oldest daughter were served papers with our intent to become sole guardians over this newborn child.  The only saving grace at this point was that my sister had NOT placed the father's name on the birth certificate which gave my parents immediate custody upon her death, listing them as "next of kin". 
There was no one in our family who would contest the guardianship issue as they all knew it was the best for the David.  I worried immensely from this point on since we had NO idea what this man was about and/or what his family background/history was and good cause since shortly after him being served I received a letter that said I was to be arrested for child kidnapping the moment I stepped foot into court on the day we are to be seen for the preliminary hearing.  
After I freaked out and called my parents in sheer panic, I called the father and had some words with him which I thought went well but then later received my official court papers which listed me as breaking the law and under penalty I am being charged with kidnapping, child concealment and child endangerment. 

I could NOT even tell you what thoughts went through my head and what worries I had at this point, I knew all about these charges since I worked in law enforcement and knew the seriousness, although knew as well I was NOT in violation of any of them and this would be an uphill battle all the way!!