Erica recently wrote to request hope and love for Kaitlyn and her family. Kaitlyn was born with a heart defect and needs surgery now, rather than later. I would have sent hope to any family that they might not join the ranks of the babylost, but babies with heart defects have a special place in my heart.
Henry was born with a heart defect. He too needed surgery earlier than we expected. We were scared but we expected that he would come through as we were assured that the surgery was almost routine. And he did come through the surgery just fine, but two weeks later he ended up back in the hospital. We were there for three months, three days, before we brought him so briefly home.
I remember being at the hospital for his surgery, the tension of the day, waiting for our updates, waiting to see him afterward. How small he looked, how lost buried under all the tubes and wires.
I remember walking into the cardiac intensive care unit, three weeks later, in shock as my baby was wheeled in from an ambulance, already on a ventilator, already on nitric oxide. For the first couple of weeks, I tried not to talk to other parents, especially the ones with the permanent name badges, the ones who knew their way around, as if a long stay were contagious. But then the doctor said it could be weeks and weeks and weeks, maybe months before we got Henry off the ventilator. I got my permanent name badge. I stopped avoiding other parents. I knew parents who had been there for months, on and off for years. I met parents who took their babies home—and some who didn't. But I never thought I'd join the club of the babylost. I barely considered that there was such a group.
Through everything Henry went through, I had hope. It was sometimes faint. It sometimes seemed to have abandoned me, but it was like the embers of a fire that looks like it had gone out. A slight breathe could make it glow again. I got that breath from Henry himself, each time he showed any little improvement. I got it too from other parents at the hospital who bucked me up when Henry was at his worst or simply living in the hospital became too much. I got it from family and friends and people I didn't know who emailed and sent notes.
So I sent hope that Kaitlyn's heart will be healed, that her family will need strength now but not hope to heal their own hearts. Hope, hugs, healing.