That is my 21 year old Sarah Beth aka Miss Moody holding Mittens. Today we celebrate her 21 years of life. Let me take you back in time. October 17th 1991 after three days in labor I finally gave birth to a 7lb 5 oz bundle of joy. During the labor we learned that my water had been leaking over the months due to physical abuse by my boyfriend and it led to what is known as a dry birth. I had met a wonderful guy who thought I hung the moon. He acted as if I was the best thing to ever happen to him. After losing my brother and feeling completely alone he filled that empty space. At 16 you are young and naive to many things in life. I fell in love (or so I thought) with him. Over the next few months we had so many good times and he asked me to marry him. My parents of course rejected the idea and said I was too young. Things progressed and the next year I found out I was pregnant. He was ecstatic and said he couldn’t wait however things began to change. I started seeing anger in him. He would become furious over the smallest things and eventually he began to take that anger out on me. He would push me, slap me, and spit on me. At four months pregnant he put me in the hospital. A court restraining order was put in place but that only angered him more. He came to my house one night begging for forgiveness. After hours of telling him to leave and arguing he forced himself on me. He took away my dignity that night and threatened my life if I ever told the police. I learned to live in silence after that. On the morning my baby arrived she washed all the bad memories away. Everything I had to endure was worth the fact that I had my daughter. As I lay there on that cold metal table waiting for her to cry I felt complete fear overtake me. There was nothing……no cry. All I could see was two tiny blue feet. I heard the nurse yell for the doctor. She was trying to whisper that the babies heart had stopped. They worked and worked and finally I heard the sweetest sound in my life. It was a weak little cry from a baby who was fighting to survive. They had saved her and she was mine. Over the next 24 hours I was told that she had not urinated and it was important that she did. The doctor was concerned that due to the dry birth something might be wrong. So the next morning lifeflight was called in and she was gotten ready to go to Vanderbilt. Right before she was loaded she relieved herself all over the nurses! Another miracle right before my eyes. I was able to take her home the next day but before I left the doctor called my mom and dad in the room and told us all that due to the lack of oxygen during the birth she might have mild brain damage. Over the next few years I watched for her to meet her milestones. She was a happy baby and did meet most of the expectations except for talking. She just couldn’t do it. I was forced to let her visit with her so called father and I was determined to stop that somehow. My mom would tell me to wait it out that he would end up fixing it for himself. She was right. Sarah began to come home with marks and bruises on her. I took pictures of everything. At 12 months she was rushed to the hospital and it turned out he had given her wine coolers in her bottle to get rid of her as he put it. She had alcohol poisoning and remained in the hospital for a week. Social services was called in and a court date was set. That day was one of the greatest in my book! The judge told him that he was a snake in society. He told him that he no longer had any parental rights to our child and he was jailed. He was forced to take parenting classes and anger management. That was my escape from evil. He never saw my child again. To this day he does not contact her nor does he even claim her. Over the years he has attempted suicide six times and it turns out he was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. I let go of the harmful memories and focused on raising my child. At three she still wasn’t talking and I noticed that she was very moody and hyper. She couldn’t sit still and was always quite irritable. Her doctor sent us to a pediatrician in another town who said she felt as if she was showing signs of autism. She then referred us to a specialist/psychologist who treated children with mental disorders. After weeks of testing she diagnosed her with ADHD. Over the months she began showing signs of aggression and would not form any social bonds besides with my parents. She became defiant and almost uncontrollable. She was sent to more doctors and for more treatment. She was then diagnosed with ODD and learning disabilities. Each year just seemed to prove worse. She was put into speech classes and began behavioral therapy. Nothing worked. We saw multiple doctors who would change her treatment. She underwent many tests and lab work repeatedly. Her aggression just became worse and she began to steal on a regular basis. She couldn’t make friends at school and I got calls on a daily basis from the principle. At age fourteen after many trips to the crisis center she attempted suicide. We were sent to Louisville, Ky where after weeks of testing she was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and mild mental retardation. The therapy and meds were switched to focus on her new diagnosis. I began to see a difference in her moods and an improvement of her behavior. For the next year she was a different child. She was respectful and started showing signs of social ability. This didn’t last long and I was told that her medicines would have to be changed and it would be trial and error. Since then she has had her ups and her downs. The down times are hard and quite plainly suck. She stole so much money from my mom and myself that she spent the night in jail and faced up to twenty years for theft and forgery. After my mom’s wreck I dropped the charges. The doctor told me with her disorder jail time wouldn’t teach her anything but worse habits. She ran away multiple times and even stole my car. I continued to love her and attempt getting her help. A mother’s love is unconditional and pure. I have devoted my life to caring for her and at age 18 I went to court and got complete guardianship over her. No, things have not been easy and every single day is a challenge. However, she has come a long way and has settled down so much. She has a boyfriend who is good to her and they are expecting a baby in December. She still cannot do many things such as math and requires re-direction but she tries. My hopes for her are that she will grow into a responsible adult and a good mother. She loves kids more than anything so I feel this is her chance to gain independence and have someone to show her unconditional love. I am her mom and I will back her. Good Lord knows I would go to hell and back for her. Over the years I have fought so many battles for her….for her safety, her education, her right to be treated fairly. I will continue to help her until the last breath leaves my body. So, today I celebrate her life and her story. I celebrate the young lady that she is. I celebrate the fact that she has overcame many obstacles and she will continue to be strong. I love her with every ounce of my body and although she has tested me many times that love remains strong….I mean that is the madness of mommyhood huh?
Happy Birthday Sarah Elisabeth!!!