I have had many hard moments in my life, many of which have to do with LB, but one of the hardest moments was letting them take my baby away.
Sitting in the pre-op room, living in denial, not thinking about what was minutes away: handing my baby over to have open heart surgery.
J and I were trying to soothe LB and get her to calm down. We had to wake up at 4 am (ironically, the time LB tries to wake me up each morning, but she was not happy when the tables were turned!)
She was her Daddy’s child in those final moments – J just skip this part (; – To put it mildly, she was LIVID and wanted everyone to know it – just like another someone I know… Mad that she was awake. Pissed because the room was hot. And alarmed because I know she could sense our nervousness.
J and I were our usual selves. Our attempt at handling anxiety can either go one or two ways (one extreme or another) mad, silent, and sulky or goofy, talkative, and distracting.
That morning we were trying to distract each other from reality.
But it only worked for a little while.
The time quickly came and she was carried out of the room. Crying.
All I wanted to do was run after them reminding them of all the things she likes: her binkie (but you have to hold it a certain away), her blankie (but not just layed on her, it has to be cradled in her arms so she can squeeze it and rub her face for comfort), her song (but not just ANY song, her special song that her siblings and I sing to her).
There were so many things they didn’t know about her. So many ways to help her feel better that only we could do.
I just wanted to chase after them and take her away.
Take her in my arms one last time. Tell her how much I love her one last time. And kiss her little cheeks so hard that they smoosh together – just the way she likes it – one last time.
But, I couldn’t, she was gone.
All I could do was hold onto my husband and cry. Walk out of the pre-op room and cry. I wanted to curl into a ball and cry – all day.
But I didn’t.
We made our way up to the waiting area and expected to begin our 6 to 8 hour journey.
Only, that’s not what happened.
We received routine calls every hour updating us on the procedure. The longest parts were prepping her with IVs, wires (pace maker wires, just to be on the safe side), drainage tubes, and other necessities. That would take up the first few hours.
She went back around 7:30 that morning
and at 9:30 I received the phone call that broke my wall of fortitude.
They called to inform us that she was now cut open, she was on full bypass, and they were preparing to begin surgery.
I hung up the phone and the tears escaped.
My daughter, my baby, my happy girl, was somewhere in an operating room with broken ribs, her chest completely cut open, and her heart was no longer beating.
I know she was on a machine that was functioning for her. I know medically she was at the point she needed to be at. But simply knowing that her heart was no longer beating scared me to death.
I never thought I would have to experience anything like this in my life – I don’t think anyone does – but to know that your child’s heart is no longer beating is a terrifying thought.
In that moment, I had to leave.
I felt like the walls were caving in. I felt like the room was spinning and I’d fall to the floor in any moment. I felt the weight of the world fall onto my heart, and I hated for anyone to see me like that.
I quickly, tried my best, to regroup in the bathroom and returned to the waiting area.
There was only family in the waiting room (except for one other lady) and I know the room was filled with nothing but support for us, but in those moments it didn’t make anything easier.
I tried not to let my mind wander to what was happening.
I would catch myself trying to imagine what was going on. Trying to think about what they were doing, how it was going, but I couldn’t – I wasn’t strong enough to handle those thoughts.
So, I turned to my family, thankfully an easy distraction. There is hardly a dull moment with our family. A lot of laughs and a lot of tough love, but it was what I needed.
Those 6 hours quickly passed and when the phone rang, expecting news that her surgery was close to being over, we received shocking news…