A year ago today marked the beginning to the most difficult day of our lives. I remember the day so clearly...we were preparing for our daughter's open heart surgery that would be taking place the next morning. How does a parent prepare for that? I remember trying to only think positively but of course the "what ifs" managed to sneak their way into my thoughts. I kept reading and re-reading the packets of information the surgeon gave us. We tried our hardest to act like this was an ordinary day as we packed our hospital bags and tried to think of the most comforting toys to bring for our sweet 6 month old. I was dreading the moment we would have to let go of her and hand her over to the medical team that was going to give her a second chance at life. I remember staring at her chest after her bath that night, knowing that it would never look the same. I soaked up every inch of her beautiful, perfect and pure skin. I of course took a million pictures of her bare chest wanting to record exactly how it looked. I knew that this surgery was necessary. Without it, her life expectancy would only be into her teenage years if that. Still, knowing that didn't seem to be making this night any easier. We had been waiting so long for the day to come. We had known about her heart defect since she was 2 days old and was told that surgery was necessary. There was some relief in knowing that finally we could put this dreaded day behind us and move on. I couldn't wait for the time when we didn't have to worry about blue lips, oxygen sats, weight gain or heart failure.
I knew we had so much support behind us and that meant the world to me. My parents were in town, we had visitors bringing over blankets, meals, hospital survival kits, toys for Madison, magazines, games...anything and everything to help us get through the next few weeks. It was so amazing to feel the love and generosity that was pouring all over our family. Dave and I quietly escaped for a little bit and just sat on our bed and cried...and I mean cried. We talked about our fears, how helpless we felt and how we wished we could switch places with our sweet girl. It was such an amazing moment filled with so much love and honesty. I remember thinking that our little girl was peacefuly asleep for the night and had absolutely no idea what was about to happen to her. I knew our girl was a fighter and that her strength and resilience would get her mama through. I had no idea how profound the impact would be on us. Watching her fight was amazing and I fell deeper in love with my sweet girl...something I didn't know was possible!