Tuesday, October 12, 2010
One Year Ago Today
One year ago today I handed my 7-month old daughter over to the surgical team at St. Joseph’s Hospital for a grueling, complicated, risky, complex and difficult 8 hour open-heart surgery.
I can hardly believe it’s been one year already. For someone who has a complex Congenital Heart Defect, and who’s endured 2 open-heart surgeries before age 1, Scarlett is doing fantastic. She is a happy, thriving, affectionate toddler who is closer and closer to talking everyday. I think she learns new words all the time, but I don’t understand her well enough to recognize that she’s saying “car” or “cat” or “ball”. She definitely has “baby” and “momma” down crystal clear.
Everything about Scarlett is petite. Her weight, her height, her smile, her giggle, even her temper. As any mom does, I am constantly comparing my daughters to each other. By the time Violet (my first born) was Scarlett’s age, she was the same size [evidentially I make small babies, heart condition or not], but she was 100% different…personality wise. At 18 months old, Violet was hyperactive, not only was she ultra energetic, but she was also exceptionally volatile: hitting, pinching, biting, kicking, throwing toys, slamming doors, and at a moments notice would pitch completely unpredictable temper tantrums that would make anyone want to reach for Jim Beam.
At the other end of the spectrum there’s Scarlett. Scarlett is calm. Happy. Affectionate. She is just the most quiet, tranquil, introverted, and peaceful little toddler’s you would ever meet. She has a normal/average amount of energy for a 19 month old especially when compared to her sister who runs around the kitchen island and jumps on furniture like she’s on speed.
Don’t get me wrong, Scarlett is enormously clingy and screams her little head off if anyone other than mommy or daddy try to hold her. She's been that way ever since the events of one year ago today.
One year ago today she was ripped from her safe and comfortable home to be thrown into an environment that was scary, awful, foreign and life altering. She was hurt. She was poked, proded, cut open and scarred for life literally and figuratively. She was never the same.
Before surgery (10-12-09), Scarlett didn't like binkys. After surgery she is a pacifer junkie. Everytime gets fussy, I pop a binky in her mouth and she's happy as a clam. She can't fall asleep without her binky. Everyone in my house knows that Scarlett loves her binkys.
She is also a cuddle bug. She loves hugging stuffed animals. Teddy Bears, kitty cats, even dolls she loves hugging and giving love to her dolls, she's super affectionate.
Before surgery, she was rather independent. As far as a 7 month old baby goes, but after surgery she suffered from separation anxiety...big time. She would fall to pieces if she wasn't in arms reach of Todd or me. and it is unheard of for anyone else to hold her. She wants her mommy and daddy. Only. It's ben one year already, and she is still shy of strangers (unlike her social butterfly 3 yr old sister). She has finally [after one year], let certain special people hold her like grandma or uncle Kevin, but for the most part, she only wants mommy, daddy or Aimee [her babysitter].
Yes, today is a milestone in Scarlett's book. She is doing well and thriving one year later. Notwithstanding the fact that she still has a moderate leak (regurgitation) in her homograft and now moderate pressure in her RV, she is alive and doing well. And one year later, I am grateful to the hospital staff at St. Joseph's for saving my baby's life. It saddens me to think that we have to do it all over again in less than a year, but when I think of today (one year post-surgery), it gives me hope that she's gonna be okay. I believe in the power of positive thinking. She still has a long road ahead of her, but she has come all this way already and she's gonna make it out on top. I love you Scarlett. You are and will always be my hero.