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.
November 1st, 2012 - an offer
It was about 10pm on November 1st, 2012. I was floating down the hall steps behind Jen (one of our fave night nurses). She had come to find me in the NICU's pumping room. Dr. Florman, the transplant surgeon, was in Matilda's room. There was only one reason he would be there - an offer.
I had never felt so much adrenaline rush through my veins. Not when Tyler proposed to me, or when I found out I was pregnant for the first time, or second, or third. Never had I felt this lifted or surprised by news.
With Matilda a few feet away, he told us of a two-week-old baby from Missouri. A baby who went to the hospital with a low grade fever. A baby who died of accidental suffocation at the hospital. He told us that the risks were great. They don't usually use organs from babies who die of unknown causes. They don't usually use organs from babies with unknown fevers. They don't usually operate on babies like Matilda who was on so many different medications to stay alive, who was just pumped full of antibiotics to fight off a simple urinary tract infection, who could not keep a steady blood pressure without three different medications.
He told us that if something were to go wrong at any point of the surgery there would be no saving her. No going back. This was it. He told us that we could go over statistics, but the reality was that Matilda's chances were either a zero or a one, a no or a yes. But, by not saying yes to this offer, it would be saying no to her life.
We understood completely what he was saying. We knew she was at her very end. We knew that. We looked at each other and both responded with a yes. He said we could have time to think about it, but we didn't need any more time. We knew. Everything felt right. This was it.
The risks were great. But without the risk, there was clearly nothing left. And the reward. The reward of having our baby survive. That was worth the risk.