Two years ago today, we went down to the NICU wayyyy early in the morning while the lights were still dim to see Olivia as they prepped her for her first surgery. She had only been born four days earlier and it was a little sooner than we were expecting, but I remember feeling relieved that we were just going to get the action going. She had been intubated since shortly after delivery and on IV nutrition and fluids. By that fourth day, she had two little black eyes from all the fluid retention and I had never even seen a glimpse of her with her eyes open.
She had her little angel lovey tucked next to her and a light lavender hand knitted skull cap on and that was it. Brian and I made sure we took all the pics that we could, especially of the moments where I sat in one of the chairs and the nurse gently plopped Olivia, bedding and all on my arms where I awkwardly held her. I could feel the weight of her, but I couldn't actually hold her close to me for fear of knocking something important out of place. So we just looked at her and wondered would we see her again with life in her. Not a follower of an organized religion but definitely someone who has faith in the powers that be; I requested a chaplain to come and give her a pre-operative blessing.
After fifteen or so minutes the nurse took her back from me and they continued to get her ready to wheel her down to the OR. Once the surgical team came to get her and all her "gear" we decided to leave rather than walk her right outside the OR. It was with heavy hearts that we left her but knew that this had to happen for Liv to have any chance of normalcy. Back at the room, the phone calls started to come regularly from the staff with updates; essentially hourly and then we would pick up the phone to call our families to keep them in the loop and before we knew it - it was done. She had made it and we just had to worry about the next 24-48 hours before we could start thinking about what was next.
To look at her now it's hard to believe she's the same baby that was so sick and vulnerable two years ago. She's so full of life and love. How do you put a measure of gratitude and relief into something as precious as this?