Recently Ellen at Love That Max posted about a book called This Lovely Life by Vicki Forman. It's about a woman, Vicki, who gives birth to super premies, Evan and Ellie and their battle for life. Really, though it's not about the babies, it's about the momma, Vicki.
I don't read a lot of books about special needs children or the things our families go through, because quite frankly, we live it every day, why would I want to read about it? :) Something about this book drew me in from the get go and still has a hold on me.
I found myself crying through most of the book, something I didn't think was possible; I read through my tears, reliving some of the most heartbreaking times in my OWN life while reading about hers. After reading the epilogue, I cried for a good five minutes; heaving heavy sobs; heartbroken sobs. I feel so connected to this woman and what she went through for her children.
I related on two levels: First on the plain old momma level-as a mother I've always wanted what was best for my children; regardless what that meant for me. Vicki was fighting (along with her husband) for what she thought was right; she had opposition at every turn yet still plunged ahead, doing what was best for her family.
The second level, the special needs momma level, was what had me crying. Scratch that, it's what had me sobbing As Vicki talked about the smell of the harsh soap in the NICU and pinning her rings to her chest as she went to the NICU, I could VIVIDLY recall the sixteen days we spent in the NICU. Sometimes when I go somewhere and they have the same soap we used when Gabe was in the hospital, I get nauseous; the memories flood back with something as simple as soap. Ridiculous...yet, that's how it is.
Vicki fights against the multiple disability labels she is sure to get for Evan; she does NOT want the labels, she keeps thinking that Evan "might" beat the odds, that the statistics won't apply to him...and damn did that hit home hard. I remember bargaining and praying and pleading that Gabe wouldn't become a statistic; that his spina bifida would some how be "different" from what the statistics and facts say it would be.
Overall, this was a heart wrenching, sad, reality based book that somehow managed to be positive and uplifting in the end. At the end of the book, I wanted nothing more than to find Vicki and give her a giant hug. I don't know if I'd recommend this book to anyone, to be honest. It was a very hard read, very gut wrenching at times; it raised moral questions that some may not want to deal with. It was tough, but I'm glad I read it; I feel richer for knowing Vicki, Ellie, and Evan's story.
Find it here