When we arrived at our house, there were many people there. The moment I walked in people were asking, "What can I do to help". I am so very thankful that those people were there that day because I could not think...I was supposed to have our bags packed (but they weren't), I wasn't even thinking about the dogs (but they would need fed while we were gone)...why didn't I have all of this READY??? However, our friends stepped in and got us ready to head out the door (through tears of their own). Once we got the car packed we headed to the airport where we would meet the private jet of a company who had volunteered their jet/crew/etc. when the time came. While we were waiting there was a lot of crying from our friends. I was just so happy to finally be venturing forward, even if we did not know the path ahead. At the time I was just happy to not have to wait anymore.
Our plane arrived at 11:30 am, and we hugged everyone there. We left all of our belongings in the car, for my sister would be driving to Denver that day with Terri (who I teach with) following her. We took Emma in her carseat with a big smile on her face. I vividly remember the outfit that she was wearing that day. I came across it the other day and a tear came to my eye at the memory. I'm not sure another child will ever wear that outfit.
We boarded the plane. WOW!!! Leather seats, big screen TV, fully stocked refridgerator! A private jet is the way to go. We felt like the King, Queen, and Princess, and as we took off the reality set in that we were going for a life saving operation in a place far away from home. A tear ran down my cheek as we waved good-bye to everyone outside the window...and the plane rose high into the air.
It took us 1 hour to fly to Denver...it took us 1 hour 30 minutes to get from the airport to the hospital (imagine that!). When we arrived at the airport a red runway was laid out and our rental car pulled up right next to the plane (yes, we again felt like royaly). I can't ever thank the wonderful people who provided the jet!!!
We arrived at the hospital at 2:30 thinking that we were late and they might give the liver to someone else (OK, so she was the only one listed with her blood type at the time, and we were well within the "time frame", but your mind doesn't really function very well under this amount of stress). We learned that the liver came from a very healthy 17 year old female...that was all we knew. We were put into a room to wait...for the next 6 HOURS!!! Emma wanted to drink SO badly that she kept pulling my water glass to her mouth. We just held her and enjoyed our time with her...and took LOTS of pictures!! They finally came at 8:30 to take her for blood work and all of the pre-op work. I was allowed to go with her. Then, we were taken to a little bench outside of the surgery room. I remember watching all of the surgeons walking into a small cubicle to get their "glasses" (that had zoom lenses on them) and thinking about the tiny little area that they had to work on my baby. Then, the doors opened and a young man walked in with a red igloo cooler with the word "liver" on it (yes, we got a picture of that too). The young man went and gave the cooler to our surgeon who dissappeared. Then the young man came and knelt down next to Emma and told her how beautiful she was and that she was going to feel better soon...and tears filled his eyes and slid down his cheeks (he came to our room a week later, brough Emma a teddy bear and explained that that had been his first "harvest of organs", and it was so surreal to see both families and feel the emotions that all of us were experiencing that day).
After the young man left, the anesthysiologist (sp?) came to talk to us, and he answered all of our questions then he said he would be taking Emma back with him to get her all ready for surgery. We kissed our smiley little girl (even after many many many hours with no food she was still smiling). We told her how much we loved her and that this was her 2nd chance at life. Then he picked her up and as he carried her away her little head peared over his shoulder and smiled at us. The sense of peace that I had that day was remarkable. I knew that everything was going to be OK, and even as we said good-bye to Emma before she went through those doors to surgery I did not cry, instead I smiled knowing that a new chapter was opening in our lives.