Tomorrow is the 6 year anniversary of Genevieve’s first open heart surgery just a few weeks shy of her 2nd birthday.
This girl – so little. She had no idea what was about to happen. At this point, she was only communicating the basic needs – hunger, happiness and pain. We read her stories about Curious George being in the hospital and tried to find the words. There were none.
She wasn’t the only one – we had no idea what was about to happen. Consent and paperwork was a blur – when I think back to August 5, 2010; I have three very clear memories of that day. Carrying her into the operating room with the Cardiac surgical team around me while Al was left in the waiting room as they only allowed one parent to walk that hallway. He knew . . . there was no way I was going to let her go a minute before I absolutely had to – I stood by the table, I held her as they put her under anesthesia and I kissed her on the forehead before forcing myself to walk out of the OR leaving her in the hands of Dr. Baird. I couldn’t say goodbye, I told her that we loved her as the tears came.
My second memory was at about 6:15 PM – we received the update that she was on bypass and doing well. The first of 3 times (and counting) that her heart was stopped.
The third was about 7:30 PM that night. After grabbing a quick bite to eat at Bertucci’s across the street, we bumped into Dr. Lacro, her cardiologist, at the elevators as we were returning to the waiting area. In his Hawaiian shirt, he told us that he was on his way to the OR to do the echo cardiogram. The man who studied her heart from before she was born was on his way to her side. I think that was the first moment that I truly believed that everything would be fine.
Over the past 6 years, we have celebrated this anniversary – her first heart-a-versary. Now that we are 6 months past her 2nd surgery, it feels different. She now has 2 of these “milestones” and the reality is that she will have more. Knowledge that we live with – there is no cure and repairs are temporary.
As I reflect back on both of her surgeries, I am reminded just how blessed we are – how blessed Genevieve is. We went through that first one with our families and a few friends. We had no idea – thankfully, we got through it. Going into her second surgery, we had an idea of what to expect . . . and we needed to communicate that to our seven year old twins. It took a team to get us through her second surgery – our own Team Genevieve. So to all those that carried us through – prayers, text messages, phone calls, play dates, care packages and so much more – we celebrate with you. Daily, I see the joy in Genevieve’s eyes and the smile on her face, she is meant to be here and she is doing so well because she is surrounded by love. So, thank you.