I don't think as long as I live, I will ever forget that day...from start to finish. From the early morning drive to Childrens Hospital to sleeping in chair waiting for Hailey to wake up from anesthesia. I will never forget how happy and giggly she was that morning, how her hair was spiky on top and how tiny she looked in that hospital gown. I remember running my finger across her chest...her skin smooth and not scarred. I remember family members giving her kisses and hugs and smiling through it...even though I know they were saying the same prayers that Jason and I were. The walk down the hall to the operating room seemed like a scene from a movie...the hall seemed to get longer the more we walked down it. The 2 nurses and 2 anesthesiologists waiting patiently outside the door. Me planting a few more kisses on her forehead, smelling that sweet baby scent and whispering, "Take care of her" as I handed her to them. The male nurse putting his hand on my shoulder and saying, "We will treat her as if she was our own child." Then...the wait....
I'm not sure what was worse, the wait or the updates. Yes, I wanted updated throughout the process, but the updates also put visuals in my head that I wasn't prepared for. "The lines were harder to put in than they had hoped. They took longer"...how many times was my little girl stuck? "The surgery has started. Dr. Manning is stitching the patch on her VSD as we speak." That update was the worst! My baby was lying on an operating table with her chest open...her heart was not keeping her alive...it was not beating. It was followed with the best updated, "Surgery is over. The doctor has closed her up. He'll be out in a minute to speak with you."
We waited while they moved our little girl into the CICU. I'm so glad I looked at pictures of the little ones that had open heart surgery before her. It helped me focus just on my little girl. She looked so tiny in that big hospital bed.
Then we did something I never dreamed I would do. We drove home to have dinner with the boys. We only live about 30 minutes from the hospital. I swore I wouldn't leave her side but it was the strangest thing. After the surgeon spoke with us and declared her heart perfectly patched, the weight that I had been carrying around for the previous 4 1/2 months was gone. The gloom was gone and all I saw were rainbows (and maybe a few unicorns). I can't explain the feeling...I wish I could.
As we celebrate Hailey's 1st Heart Day, no, I will never ever forget the paralyzing fear, sadness or worry. However, today....we are CELEBRATING! God gave our baby girl a second chance at living and we aren't about to let it go to waste! Hailey rocked her surgery and continues to be our rockstar!
We are this happy today....
Hailey's adorable shirt was made by her friend Cora's grandma. Cora sported one similar on her heart day!