one month birthday

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.

October 21st, 2012 - one month birthday

After kissing Matilda good morning and wishing her a happy one month birthday, I left. I hadn't showered in a few days, and with an upcoming line procedure looming I felt this was the best time to make my way across town to the Ronald McDonald House. The walk was so familiar now that I floated from stop to stop, exited the subway without hesitation, and found myself at home in the city. Our room was strewn with travel size bottles of this and that sent by so many. I sifted through the pile until I found what I needed, put a load of laundry in the washer, and showered.

After moving the laundry, I probably should have taken a nap. The room was so still and quiet. I sat organizing the things people had sent. I read through the notes, gathered kind words to bring back to the hospital to hang on Matilda's wall, and I said prayers of thanks for each person who took the time to care for us.

One month earlier, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I had ever known. My love for Matilda was instant. And when they put her in my arms, it felt like she had been there my whole life.

While on my way back to the hospital Tyler texted me, letting me know that nothing was going on - all was quiet and calm. So I stepped into our church, just a few blocks from the hospital. I was thirty minutes early, so I read through comments and messages people had sent me over the last three weeks.

As mass started my heart was bursting with pride and joy. Joy for the love that Matilda had carried and pride that I had been called to mother this perfect human. Mass was beautiful and refreshing. The chubbiest little boy was being baptized. His brothers, proud and excited. His parents, smiling from ear to ear. And a message about community, love, and standing together, holding hands in one faith.

Matilda was living her baptism. Her life had not yet been filled with the things I expected that it would be. I never could have expected acute liver failure. But, I also never could have expected her life to be filled with this extraordinary love, support, and kindness.

And that was when it hit me. Matilda's life was not in my hands. Her life did not belong to me. She was exceeding all my hopes and dreams. Matilda was changing the world. I could feel it. And that pride was priceless.

We floated through that day with smiles, laughter, and joy. We took turns holding Matilda, singing her happy birthday, and kissing her head. The night nurses got together and made Matilda a one month card, they gave her a bath, got her dressed up, and presented her to me wrapped in a bow like the gift that she was.

All of her days were painful. But all of her days were beautiful and full of abundant love. It was the best one month birthday, happily celebrated. We could have easily been swallowed by envy, fear, and sadness. Not that day, on that day, hope and love won.

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