Today is a day of reflection for me. It's a day of mixed emotions. Five years ago today was the day that we had been waiting for....58 days to be exact. Emma had been active on the transplant list for 58 days, and I knew that the call for a new liver must come soon. Our 7 month old daughter was losing her energy, and she was sleeping 20 out of every 24 hours. She did not want to eat...and when she did eat she would vomit EVERYTHING that had entered her stomach. I was so scared of what our future had in store. I just could not see a happy end to the story.
Then....the phone rang! I know that I've told this story before, however in my day of reflection I feel that I must share again. That morning 5 years ago I had dropped Emma off with her babysitter. I told the babysitter that Em had very small amounts of blood in her stool that morning, and if ANYTHING were to change to call me immediately. I knew that she was in good hands, but as I drove away tears filled my eyes as a part of me thought, "Today needs to be the day". I arrived at school, and got all of my students prepared to get back on the bus to go skiing. In the winter our entire school would go skiing every Friday. I loaded my students on the bus, and decided to follow in my car....I just knew that something was not right...and I was going to be going back.
When I arrived at the ski resort, a child walked up to me and told me that they had been looking for me because I had a phone call. I yelled (quite loudly) "OH CRAP!!" (yep, that won me the kdg. teacher of the year award) I ran up the stairs and was told to call my husband. When I called Tim's school I was told that he had already left. I said, "Where did he go?". The secretary....in complete Awe said, "Angie....they called and said that they have a liver for Emma". I immediately hung up the phone, and the tears fell and fell and fell. My sister walked with me to the car as I repeated over and over, "I DON'T WANT HER TO DIE". However, once I got to the car I did not cry again....not until 10 days after transplant when she became EXTREMELY sick.
We went and picked Em up and flew to Denver to start our new life. There are so many moments of that day that are etched in my mind for eternity. One that stands out is the nurse that transported the liver to us. He had tears in his eyes when he saw Emma....we found out later it was his first organ procurement....and he had helped remove the organs and had talked to the donor family too.....what an amazing experience, but it would be SO difficult too.
We have found out that Emma's donor was skiing for her first time on that day. She was with her church youth group. She fell and hit her head. There is not a day that goes by that I do not pray for her family. We would not have Emma here today if they had not made the decision to donate Claire's organs that day.
Today, I reflect. I remember the excitement of the day...yet, I also remember the heartache that I felt for our donor family. I remember the peace that I felt as I handed my 7 month old daughter to a complete stranger...knowing that this was her ONLY chance at a life! I remember the joy when I got to hold her in my arms again, and the elation of knowing that the toughest part of the journey was behind us.
Today, I look at Emma and I reflect on the past, but I know how fortunate I am to also be able to plan our future. Emma's future looks incredible to me, and I feel so fortunate that she will also be a part of MY future!
Today is not the end of the story....but we sure are HAPPY!!!