Victoria Catherine Flick was a happy seven year old. As we reflect on our little girl, and the things that made her happy, bubbles come to mind. How she loved having bubbles blown through the plastic wand at her face. Chocolate would come in second followed by swimming in her pool. The new bicycles certainly earn rank on the chart. But just simply having Victoria in our lives to love stands far above everything. Victoria was, and always will be, loved and we loved loving her.
Our family was very fortunate to give our daughter all that she needed. As a result, our lives have been also affected in a positive way.
I still find myself looking at the clock and remembering her schedule. Every morning waking up and thinking to myself, ‘Right now Victoria would be fed, and waiting for her school bus to pull up in the front of our house.’ I also wonder, ‘Would we have had a doctors appointment today?’ And of course when the flu and stomach virus is going around, would she be sick, or in the hospital?
During the last three and half years of her life, her immune system was very low. She would become extremely sick very quickly and most likely be admitted into the hospital.
There are also the warmer days I think, ‘This would be a great day for a walk or taking Victoria on a ride with our oldest child, Christina.’ As I talk to other special needs families who have lost their child, I learn our losses are the same. We all look at the clock. We all think of the ‘what ifs’ the ‘could haves’ and ‘should haves’. It still doesn’t mean in any way that it makes it easier.
Our family came to be on July 1, 1994 with the birth of our oldest daughter Christina Marie. Christina was, and is, everything we ever wanted. She was born post due date, induced labor, and delivered via c-section. At 7:29pm, my husband and I became proud parents of a beautiful 7lb. 7oz. baby girl.
Oh how I remember all too clearly the sleepless nights, the diapers, packing half the house to visit family and friends for a couple of hours! As time moved on, we adjusted. Christina was growing so fast and she was so smart. I have to admit she was much more advanced then most children. Life was perfect. Perfect, now that’s one word that comes to mind even to this day. I don’t think I truly understood what perfect was until about a year before Victoria’s passing. Having two beautiful children has taught me a lifetime of understanding.
I think it was in September of 1996 that I learned I was carrying our second child (Victoria). I was very happy of course, but wondered if I was capable of loving another child as much as I did Christiana. I was worried that Christina wouldn't have the same attention from me once the new baby joined our family. During my pregnancy, we became more, and more excited. Christina insisted the doctor give her a sister. Nothing less. She wanted a little sister to play dolls with, to watch over and to be a big sister to. John and I felt similar emotions as well. Just one more baby.
On June 3, 1997, Victoria Catherine Flick was born. She was 7lbs. 11oz. There were complications. Victoria was also post delivery date, and a scheduled inducement. Complications arose during v-back (vaginal birth after c-section deliver). Victoria was born emergency c-section, and rushed to Neonatal Intensive Care. I was also placed in Intensive Care. My husband, following Victoria’s birth awakened me. John explained to me that we now have a beautiful baby girl, but during the next 24 hours we would be uncertain of her survival. He told me of the complications, and Victoria was in the hands of the doctors. Everything that could be done for her would be. ‘Debbie,’ he said, ‘she’ll be okay. Whatever it takes. She’s ours and she’s beautiful.’
I heard something about her being in a vegetative state, possible cerebral palsy, and a chance she would not survive. I was also informed that my uterus and cervix had been removed, my bladder repaired (it had split in half) and that I had also required a blood transfusion. I would never have children again.
Victoria was resuscitated after being deprived of oxygen. This was due to the fact that a ph balance test could not be accomplished because her umbilical cord had been severed at some point during labor. She was free floating in my body without oxygen.
On Friday, June 6, 1997, I met my beautiful daughter for the first time. My Victoria was placed into my arms (no one had held Victoria before she was in my arms). She opened her eyes for the first time and were both in love. We were both where we needed to be. Together.
Our daughter arrived home only a few weeks later. As Victoria grew, so did the anxiety with the insurance company. We quickly learned that this was not going to be happily ever after. Victoria was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The finances incurred for a special needs family are exhausting. Battles with coverage are never ending and the emotional stress on the family is painful.
I remember Victoria’s physical therapist suggesting we request a special equipped walker to teach Victoria to stride walk, and strengthen her upper body movement. The vendor personally came to the therapist’s office and brought a model for Victoria to try. We placed her into the walker (pacer). I will never forget the look on my daughter’s face when she took her first independent steps. It was an amazing moment for all of us! She took one step, then two. As she held her head up to me, she saw that she was completely on her own. Victoria’s smile was as wide as an ocean, and her eyes were brighter then day!
I then requested this wonderful tool for Victoria to prance around in, and was quickly shattered when the insurance company denied it for her. I filed a grievance with the carrier, and was denied again. This apparatus was much too expensive for my husband and I to invest in ourselves. At the time it was about $4,000 more then we could afford. Eventually we did have the finances to provide our daughter all that she needed, but as parents, we will never forget the initial feeling of not being able to meet all of our daughter’s needs. The heartache and sleepless nights wondering where we could come up with the balance for these needed tools were endless.
In December 1999, we moved from Pennsylvania to Delaware. It was a happy and satisfying decision. We bought a ranch style house and installed ramps. We bought an in ground heated pool (one of Victoria’s favorites), installed a swing set for Christina, and added a specially equipped swing for Victoria. We also chose Pergo flooring throughout the kitchen and dining room so Victoria could use her walker in the house without getting caught in grooves. Victoria had a special floating device to help her swim independently in the pool, and an adult with her of course. We also had a specially equipped bicycle that my bike pulled. This way she was able to sit back and enjoy the ride. Believe it or not, Victoria also had a bicycle to that fit her needs so she could ride by herself. We had just borrowed it from her school four days before her passing.
Victoria’s last few days with us were shared with visiting friends from out of state. Victoria made a friend during our visit to Canada for elective physical therapy, and they were sharing the weekend with us. Victoria and her little friend had such a wonderful time swimming and playing together. Since Victoria had two different bikes to use that weekend, I offered her friend the pull bike. Evidently this was Victoria’s preferred bike to ride. She threw a fit when she was told that it wasn’t her turn. She had to use the tricycle instead. She was so mad. I explained to Victoria that she had to share. “Share with your friend Victoria. You will get a turn next.” She didn’t like to but she also understood. Unconsciously, this was the birth of the Victoria’s Friends Foundation, and our mission of ‘It’s time to share.’
Victoria's Friends Foundation is a non-profit organization. Tax Exempt under section 501 (C) 3 of the Federal Tax Code EIN# 36-4559899
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