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 31st, 2012 - halloween

Holidays in the hospital are the strangest. They shouldn't be anything but strange. No matter what is done to celebrate, decorate, or make do, they are what they are and they are not what they should be.

It was Halloween.

And at this moment, Matilda's room looked like Halloween. There was blood splattered across her room and on the coats of at least one doctor and two nurses. They had tried to place a line that would serve as an access point for drawing blood for labs, as well as a way to more accurately and continuously record her blood pressure. Something went wrong and the tiny catheter popped right out of her wrist and managed to spray blood everywhere.

But Matilda was as fine as she could be, and everyone was laughing.

I called Parker to tell him happy Halloween. He was excited and told me all about how he was going to dress up and go with Auntie Meghan to get some candy from houses. I had put my sister in charge of making his costume for me. He was a lumberjack and looked adorably cute.

It was Halloween and I wanted Matilda to celebrate her first holiday no matter how unusual or strange. She was an owl. I cut bits of felt and glued them onto a hospital gown. She was adorably cute.

Matilda started the day with alarms. She terrified us as she nearly left for Heaven. Then, mid-day she sprayed blood everywhere. But right now, it was Halloween and Matilda was making waves through the hospital. She was the celebration!

By no means was this day typical or how any new mother would expect to celebrate a first Halloween. But, as I looked around our little hospital room I was filled with so much happiness and love. Matilda had a line of people down the hall who had come to celebrate Halloween with her.

It would have been easy to skip it. To forget about the silly tradition of an unimportant holiday. But if I would have skipped it, I would have missed out of all this joy. Matilda cheered so many people up that day. All of the nurses, doctors, and residents who were having their own kind of strange hospital holiday were now beaming with pride and taking pictures of the little baby in Bed 7 of the PICU, dressed as an owl. And I am certain that every hospital Halloween they have Matilda will be remembered.

We lived in that joy and goodness, we held it tight and soaked it in. It only lasted for 30 minutes before we needed to take off the costume and cool her down with rags and ice. We escaped for that half hour - but reality once again took over.

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