During our last visit to NYC we saw a few people that we hadn't seen since Matilda's days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. One was the sweet doctor (at the time a fellow with the liver team) who came and sat with me the first night just after Matilda was intubated and I was told her likelihood of surviving was not looking good.
I remember the kindness in her eyes, her soft spoken voice, and the sadness in her body language. She had gone home for the evening and suddenly found her way back to the hospital only to look at a very sick baby and sit with her very sad mother.
So to have her walk into the room as the one to examine Matilda nearly three years later felt wonderful. My mom asked her what she thought that first night that she met Matilda, and her response did not suprise me in the slightest. She said, "You don't want to know what I thought. Of course, keeping hope in a situation like that is a job requirement, but with a baby that size who was so sick - the options for help are just limited. She is a miracle, that is for sure."
Hearing things like that are such a reminder that what we went though, what Matilda went though, was extraordinary. In so many different circumstances, she would not have survived. But she did, and in doing so she changed the lives, opinions, and practices of so many medical professionals in the process.
We also ran into Dr. Moon and the rest of the surgical team (minus the doctor who transplanted Matilda). I was so surprised to see him that all I could muster was "This is Matilda!" Everyone smiled and talked for a moment about how adorable she is and then the exchange was over before I knew it. They were off to help other children and we were off to the PICU to say hello to old friends. But I wish I would have said more. I wish I would have asked for a picture. I wish I would have showed him how beautiful her scar looks today. I wish I would have thanked him for the impact he has made on our life. I know that it is his job, but I also know that it feels good to see results years later, to know people still remember your efforts, and to feel appreciated.
Best of all I got to hug so many of Matilda's old nurses. It really never gets old going up for a visit and saying hello to the group of women who not only took care of Matilda but who took care of me in the process. Their smiles, their warmth, and their hugs always keep me moving forward. Their encouragement with the blog, their comments and messages, their concern and worry all mean the world to me. Not to mention I got five minutes of laughter with Matilda's previous nurse practitioner Sam who held my hand for two years as I navigated the uncertain waters of post-transplant care. She is expecting her first child and has moved to a more regular position, so you can imagine my surprise as she bounced in the door to say hello. It was the best surprise of all and a joyful reminder that our support system is just as strong as ever.