goodbye my love

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 28th, 2012 - goodbye my love

Everyone was frantically busy trying to wrap up loose ends and get everything settled before Superstorm Sandy arrived. We had never seen so many people in the PICU at once. The reality of it was beginning to sink in.

We turned the news on for the first time and heard that the subways were closed. I was so shocked. The subways were shut down. There was a chance they would flood with water. The vision of that made me think of those apocalyptic movies where NYC is under water and chaos takes over. Chaos could not take over. This could not be happening now. I needed the city. I needed these people to save my daughter. Worry quickly turned to fear.

Our nurse had been preoccupied all day by the neurotic behavior of our soon-to-be former PICU neighbor. So, I convinced her to let me hold Matilda, while she received her blood products. I continued to hold her as the shifts changed, and I continued to hold her as a resident popped in to check on Matilda. It was supposed to be a quick hello. It was supposed to be a simple update on her progress. But instead, I piled on a mountain of concerns that I felt were leading to another intubation.

Matilda was reminding me of how she was when we first brought her in. Her breathing was labored. The look in her eyes screamed for help. I was losing my baby girl and I knew it. It felt awful, it felt painful, and I felt helpless amid the impending storm.

I held Matilda until the very last minute that I was allowed. I kissed her sweet little head, I sang her sweet little songs, and I told her that even though she needed to go to sleep I would always be with her. To hand Matilda over to her nurse for the last time, knowing that unless she was offered a liver in the next few days it would be my last, was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

My arms were empty. My heart broken. And, the city was shutting down.

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