I am joining the Five Minute Friday crew over at Kate Montaung’s blog Heading Home again this week. I hope you’ll consider joining them as well. It is a wonderful group of supportive writers sharing their perspective on a prompt each week.
This week’s prompt is “Alive” – here goes:
That is my daughter. The picture is from July 3, 2009, four days before her transplant. She had not opened her eyes or been awake for days, maybe weeks before that. She had been on a paralytic in order to keep her from fighting the ventilator and all the other lines she had going into her little, tiny body. She had just been moved from the PICU to the CVICU because the PICU doctor had basically given up on keeping her stable after days of changing medication levels, plunging blood pressures to elevated blood pressures, bad labs, etc. The CVICU is typically reserved for those who have already had heart surgery, but they moved her there, I think believing that if she didn’t get a new heart within a few days, she would need to have a Berlin Heart. Either way, she would be in the CVICU soon enough anyways. She was probably as close to death as a baby can be without passing away. It was terrifying and exhausting and depressing. But, she held on. Day after day. Through what had to be painful and frightening situations. I must admit that I sometimes wondered if we were doing the right thing. Putting her through all that. But I had to believe that keeping her alive was better than the alternative.
This photo was taken one month after her transplant. The difference is pretty amazing. In four weeks she was off the ventilator, smiling, had lost the puffiness that had been there for months before. She was taking formula from a bottle. She held fingers and loved to watch a mobile over her head. She was ALIVE – not just at the basic level she had been before, but at the WHOLE level. She was aware, awake and active.
I am now confident that we did the right thing putting her through everything. She has thrived in the past seven years. We have had our medical bumps and rough spots, but overall we’ve had it good. We’ve had great times and we have wonderful memories and wonderful friends and being alive is good. It is important to remind ourselves of that when things get rough. Babies even know it. But sometimes life’s hard hits can make us forget that knowledge. In this season of new life, remember that being alive is a gift. A gift to us and a gift to others.