As we pulled up to the house and Dolly saw all the kids run at the car, she began to cry. We’re not sure why. I think she was overwhelmed. I feel that way too. I had felt that way all day. On a day when I should have been overjoyed to go home with my baby girl, I felt overwhelmed.
As we were getting ready to leave our CICU room, the doctor who was Dolly’s Attending Physician all week came to check on her one last time and to say goodbye. He looked her over, told me how amazing she was, and then said to her, “Go out there sweet girl and enjoy the rest of your life.” She was about to die, and now she has the rest of her life, likely with no effects from her congenital heart defect, to enjoy.
I felt like crying. There was gratitude, but there was an enormous amount of uncertainty too. I think she and I have both lived through something that defies words. I think we both have a little PTSD. I had it coming home from Ghana. I remember it vividly. I remember the feeling of coming home and feeling like I would have to learn to live my life all over again.
I feel that way now.
I promised myself before that I wouldn’t let my daughter’s illness define her. I can’t let the fact that she almost died define me either. Now we find a way to heal and move forward, not living for the past, but remembering it, and using it for good.
We also have to figure out how to live together again as a family. While 12 days sounds like such a short amount of time, it has been a lifetime for each of us. We’ll need to help the other kids understand what happened and grieve about what might have been. In the coming days, I’ll be sharing all that we did for them while we were in the hospital, and what we’re doing now that we’re home to help support all of our kids.
I’ll also be sharing with you exactly how much cleaning I have to do, because I am NOT happy about it.
Not happy at all.
–FullplateMom, who is not happy, just in case you didn’t catch that part.