not goodbye

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 2nd, 2012 - not goodbye

We floated down the hallway behind Matilda and her entourage of medical staff. We floated down the elevator. Through the tunnels underneath the hospital that led to the operating room. We floated into a space with blue curtains and sterile masks. It happened so fast, I tried to get close to her but I couldn't reach.

They rolled her away.

But Sharon, our nurse (who had gone into the operating room to "sweep it" of any bad vibes), stopped them saying, "Let the mother say goodbye." And so I kissed my hand and reached past the wires to her abdomen where I thought the liver might live. I said goodbye to the liver - and I love you to Matilda.

The sound of my voice whispering I love you echoed over and over as Tyler and I made our way to the waiting area where we were instructed to go for the next 6-12 hours that they estimated it would take for the surgery. It was a large open area on the second level that overlooked the pavilion of the main entrance to the hospital. It seemed to be a general waiting area, overflowing with people.

We sat down. In shock and silence. A few minutes had passed when I looked at Tyler and burst into tears. I tried with everything I had to tell him that it didn't feel like I just said goodbye. This didn't feel like the end. This moment right here just felt dumb. The hours leading up to this were ridiculous. And waiting in this room with all of these people experiencing anything from a broken arm to the removal of a cancerous tumor seemed pointless. Finally, after a deep breath, I said, "What are we doing here? Let's go home."

And so we did.

We walked outside, down the street, and back in through the same set of doors I had walked in with Matilda five weeks earlier. We went back upstairs to the PICU and waited at Bed 7, which at this point, had no bed - it was just an empty little corner of the PICU.

We were home.

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