“It’s her heart.”
That’s what the doctor said to us when they all gathered into my hospital room shortly after giving birth to Callie.
They tried to explain the intricate surgery she would have in 4 short days. Tried to explain what the condition meant and what her recovery looked like. The risks. The lack of guarantee that it would work. The prolonged care plan she would have through her life. We hadn’t gotten to hold her yet and had barely even gotten to look at her because she was having so many tests, scans, and evaluations done.
Callie, like she has done for most of her life, had different plans and didn’t want to wait 4 days for surgery. She crashed later that night and they moved the surgery to the next day. She was transported to a different hospital that was better suited for this level of surgery via Medi-Vac and we followed shortly after that.
The next day, we kissed her before they wheeled her back into the OR. I said every prayer I knew during that 8 hour procedure. Made every promise to God that I could. I raged silently at Him, wondering how this could have happened and then in the next breath, begged him to make sure she was going to be ok. I cried. I swore. I cried some more. I never let go of James’s hand. I sat the whole time in the waiting room in a wheel chair because I had to have a C-section and it was near impossible for me to sit in the hard chairs. I finally understood what it meant to have a broken heart. I understood real fear. I repeated silently over and over “Please save her. Please save her.”
“I repeated silently over and over “Please save her. Please save her……..”
The surgeon came out over 8 hours later. The split second before he spoke took an eternity as I rapidly searched his face for any indication of bad news. I thought I might break James’s hand as hard as I was squeezing his fingers….only to look down and realize he was doing the same to mine.
Thankfully, the surgery was a success. Now, they explained, the hard part would begin…..the recovery. I tuned out at that point. We were now sitting at the side of her incubator in the NICU and I could finally hold her tiny hand. I could see the reddish tint to her soft hair that I hadn’t noticed the night before. I could watch the fluttering of her ridiculously long eye lashes that looked just like her Daddy’s. I could see her little chest struggle with each breath. I could see the massive zipper scar that ran from her sternum to her tummy. I could see the luminescent pearls of her fingernails. I could see the multiple wires of IVs that criss-crossed her fragile but fierce little body. I could see the petite pink socks they had put on her feet. I could see her small button nose, almost identical to my own.
And then when she opened her eyes, I could see my whole world.