Where was I 7 years ago today? How many people can accurately answer that question? Probably not many. That “not many” certainly does not include me. I can tell you exactly where I was and what I was doing.
After a very long night of waiting (12 hours to be exact) I was standing over my sleeping (medically assisted of course) daughter. She was just a tiny dot (at a mere 34 lbs.) in the giant bed filled with wires and tubes. I was watching the vent help her breath, as I’d done for nearly a month. This afternoon though, as I stood watching her, there was 1 very noticeable difference from all the days before…..her color. She wasn’t ghostly white with her lips tinted slightly blue. She was pink. Her lips were red. During that long night while I waited, this tiny girl received a second chance at life. This new heart beating strong inside her chest was the reason for this change.
I hadn’t heard her voice in nearly 30 days…27 to be exact. The last words I heard as she was wheeled into the O.R. to be placed on a vent were, “Am I going to wake up mommy?” It would still be another day before I heard that voice again and I could say, “See, I told you you’d wake up”. As I stood looking at her and half listening to the nurses and doctors, I knew that somewhere there was another mom like me possibly looking down over her baby too. The difference between us both separates and forever connects us. This other mom isn’t ever going to hear her child’s voice again. While we would fill our days with recovery, this mom would be trying to figure out to live her life without her child. Her first Christmas without him would a scant 23 days away. That hardly seemed fair to me. Would I change the outcome though? Not even for a second. Her pain brought my greatest joy. There will never be words to express my gratitude to this mom even though my heart feels it…..every single day.
Every year on (or around December 2nd) I have words of remembrance and gratitude, but this year is extra special and this fact didn’t dawn on me until fairly recently. This heartiversary marks a special milestone. Zoe, officially, has had her donated heart longer than the one she was born with. 7 years with a strong, healthy heart. She’s never known what that’s like….until now.