At the beginning of the year, Hailey had a doctor's appointment. We had a new nurse and she asked if Hailey had any surgeries. I shrugged and replied, "no". A few moments passed and I was confused with myself. How on earth did I forget that Hailey had open heart surgery? How did something so major slip my memory? How could I have forgotten that my daughter would have died without it? How I could I forget watching my daughter's chest raise and retract like she didn't have enough energy to breath? How could I forget the 7 hours a day that we would spend feeding her because she didn't have enough energy to breath and eat at the same time? Hailey probably would not be with us today, getting ready to celebrate her 4th birthday, without that surgery. How could that be forgotten in just 3 short years.
It was all I could eat and breath for those first 4 1/2 months of her life. Watching her breathing...watching her coloring...praying that she would have enough energy that day to eat and breathe. Rubbing her fingers and toes to get the blood circulating again. Praying that she was getting big enough to schedule her surgery. Praying every waking moment and probably during my sleep.
The crazy thing is Hailey's surgery was a simple one (relatively speaking). She definitely wouldn't have lived without it, but it was an easy fix and a common defect. We left Hailey in the CICU hooked up to machines, IVs and not awake yet...she was healthier at that moment than she had ever been in her life. Her heart was fixed and her little body didn't have to work so hard. She could eat and breath at the same time and it didn't exhaust her. Her first bottle post surgery only took her 10 minutes to finish. It was the first 3 ounce bottle she had ever eaten and it took her 50 minutes less than normal. I was speechless. We were able to live after that. We didn't have to schedule our entire life around Hailey having a bottle. Our family was going to get a chance at a new normalcy.
I will never forget the pain...the fear...or the pleading I did with God, but it's easy to shove it in my box of memories and live our life with our very healthy, active, almost 4 year old! Thank God for medical technology, skilled surgeons and caring professionals for giving Hailey her second chance at life. I can assure them all that she's living it to the fullest!