september 30th - 2012

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

September 30th, 2012

I think we got to Syracuse around 3am. Parker seemed to be happy and excited to be up in the middle of the night. My mother looked so hurt by it all. I could see in her eyes that she was terrified. Scared for Matilda, but terrified to think about how this was going to affect me. I could feel her urge to hug me oozing from her every movement and stare. I did not want to hug. I was determined to be brave. Everything was going to be fine. I needed to show Parker that everything was going to be fine.

We waited in the ER triage area for a long time. Nurses came in and re-did everything that our local hospital had done. They hooked my little 9 day old baby up to monitors that checked her oxygen, heart rate, and blood pressure. She was cold and losing body heat, so they put her under a heat lamp. My mom took Parker to find something to eat. He came back with an ice cream cone and a bunch of stickers. He sat on my lap, happily eating his ice cream while doctors came in and out preparing us for the move up to the PICU. He was excited about his sprinkles.

I was in such a daze. My prayers seemed to fade off into daydreams about holding my newborn back at home and decorating her room. They escorted us from the police-filled ER to a beautiful PICU that looked like a children's museum. The walls were filled with galaxies, stars, planets. Parker giggled with excitement and skipped down the hall after his new baby sister.

Once we got to the room it started to hit me. Tyler and my mom took Parker exploring on the new floor and I was left alone with Matilda and her nurse. The nurse was really nice. I don't remember her name. She explained as much as she knew while she was preparing Matilda for treatments. I filled out paperwork and consent forms. I did not leave Matilda's side. I stood by the bassinet frozen. I stared at her little face and the words "but I love her" kept cycling over and over as if they could change something. The nurse pulled up a chair and said it was a good time to hold her before all the specialists arrived to begin testing. She placed Matilda in my arms; all the wires carefully placed around us, and I began to cry. My mom walked in. I am sure that all she could see in that moment was her fifth, her baby. I could see in her eyes that she wanted to rush over to me and pick me up in her arms, to hold me, to cry with me, but she did what she knew I wanted. She quietly asked if I wanted to be alone, I nodded yes, and she left. I am sure she fell apart in the hall. She had traveled from Montana to spend two weeks with us celebrating Matilda's birth. She was supposed to leave that day.

I distracted myself by opening Facebook to post the above photo (taken in the ER) along with this: "We are now in Syracuse waiting for a pediatric liver specialist. They are giving her plasma soon. She is still sleeping and very weak."

I then sang to Matilda what I imagined would be her favorite lullabies.

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