December 13, 2012.
My family woke up bright and early in a hotel room in Boston. Only we weren’t there for vacation. We were there to have my daughter undergo a cardiac procedure at Boston Children’s Hospital.
In August 2012, our local children’s hospital had recommended that Evalyn needed another open heart surgery. A third open heart surgery in less than two years! My heart broke hearing that news and thinking about how much her 20-month-old little body had been through already.
Between the procedures, anesthesia and surgeries, it was much more than some adults go through in an entire lifetime. I didn’t want another surgery to be a reality so soon, so I did the only thing that I had any control over. I sought a second – and third – opinion.
While Boston thought surgery may be necessary, the surgeon there suggested there may be a less invasive procedure that could be done to improve my daughter’s heart function and delay the need for surgery until she was bigger and stronger. It was not guaranteed, but it was worth a try, and so we scheduled a cardiac catheterization to attempt to place a minuscule stent into her tiny heart.
December 13th was the day we had waited for. After the early morning wake up, we bundled up our chubby-cheeked toddler and walked the approximately two blocks to the hospital through the bitter Boston cold. We sat through the preparations and after a few hours, we handed our girl over to the kind nurse and anesthesiologist. They walked away from us; my daughter unsure about leaving us, but content enough while the nurse sang “Monkeys on the Bed” to distract her.
There we were. My husband and I left on our own for hours, waiting to hear the news. We sat in the cold hospital waiting areas, paced the hallways and finally perused the gift shop where we bought a toy for Evalyn and my husband purchased a Boston Red Sox hoodie to warm up, even though he is a diehard Phillies fan.
We wandered, we waited and we wondered. Was it going well? Was Evalyn ok? Would this be the answer to delaying surgery?
Finally we got a phone call with the information we needed. Yes, it went well. Yes, our daughter was ok. And, yes, it was a success! The doctor was able to achieve the best case scenario results and surgery would be able to be delayed.
They. Did. It.
We left Boston Children’s Hospital the following day, feeling such relief and gratitude. We left with hopes that the stent would delay surgery for approximately 2 years. Today it has been exactly 5 years.
Five years and surgery is still being held at bay.
We know the time will come eventually, but it hasn’t yet. We don’t know when that time will be, and we will never be ready for that day to come. But every single day until then we will remain grateful for Boston Children’s Hospital and for December 13th, 2012.