Sunday, March 16, 2008

Achy Breaky Heart

We got "the call" from the cardiologist a few days ago. They have scheduled the date for Teenybop to go in and have her little heart get patched up. Like it's an old quilt you just can't bear to get rid of, right?


I've had so many people lately tell me to be strong and that it's "really no big deal" that I want to just run around in the streets and randomly slap the piss out of everyone. IT IS A BIG DEAL! IT'S MY DAUGHTER, DAMMIT! She's not in her seventies like my grandmother who had open-heart surgery a few years ago. I hate to say it like this, but first of all, my grandmother is all washed up. She's in her seventies for crying out loud, she's not a 35 pound four year old. And second, she didn't come from my own belly. I didn't grow her. I didn't nurse her, and I sure as hell wasn't around to cry over her tiny face the day she was born.

But I did all that and more for my daughter. I dealt with throwing my guts up all day long, literally the entire time I was pregnant. I was in and out of the hospital because even though I drank water and gatorade by the gallon, I'd barf enough to stay dehydrated. I'd throw up so hard that I'd throw up blood, and I'd have to throw up in the sink so I could sit on the toilet, otherwise the force of the vomiting would make me pee myself. Some nights I'd jump up out of bed like someone had shoved me, running to the bathroom to pee, and my dog would run around my ankles to make sure I couldn't possibly get there in time. I had to wake Ex-Husband up three times on the night my daughter was born, and he only finally got up because I threatened to leave without him. I had thrown up hard enough to break my own water. And I still had to drive myself to the hospital because Ex-Husband couldn't drive. I also had to stop accross town and pick up my sister in law because she couldn't drive either, she'd broken her toe.

I dealt with the fear of the epidural, the fear of the c-section I had to have because she was breech. I dealt with healing up after the surgery, I dealt with the gripping fear that if I stood up wrong, some of the staples would pop loose and spill out my organs on the floor. Never mind the fact that I typically had pants and panties on.

I lay in bed for three days in the hospital with my daughter in my arms. They had a bassinet in there, but the only time she was ever in it was when I went to the shower or the bathroom. The rest of the time she lay propped on pillows in my arms so that I could gaze down on her sleeping face whenever I wanted to. She's why I had a ten minute drip option on my post-surgery morphine but would only hit it about every forty-five minutes. And she's why I still had two percosets left over on a no refill prescription from the surgery when she was six months old. I didn't want to take the meds and give them to her through my breast-milk unless I just couldn't stand the pain anymore.

And I did nurse her, right up until she was eight months old and I finally had to put her on formula just to make her grow.

I changed her diapers, I bathed her and washed the spot where they'd cut the cord with alcohol just like they'd told me to. I sang to her and laughed through my tears when she'd smile. Sometimes I still do that. I held her hands, told her stories, and shared memories with her from our life together so far. I still do that, too.

And now I'm facing the idea that all that could come to an end ... No more pictures to take, no more little boyfriends, no more stories about how school went. No getting her ready for her first date, her prom, her wedding ... and it's "no big deal". Well pardon my french ... but that's such a load of bullshit that I'm going to puke on the next person trying to feed me that line. It is a big deal. I don't care how simple the procedure is. I don't care how easy it is, or how low the risks of things like internal bleeding, bood infection, and DEATH are. I don't care how perfectly perfect in his experience the doctor is.

She's still my daughter. My 8 pound 20 inch baby girl. She's bigger now, but not so big that I've lost sight of the little baby in the pink booties, cap and blanket on the way out of the hospital. Not so big that I've forgotten how terrified I was the first time she got the flu. The first time I ran for my door so that I could get inside and lock it because her father was raging and quite literally after me after I left him. The first time I sat in the cardiologist's office and they told me that my precious baby had something wrong, something not built quite right, something dangerous. Something that could become a very huge problem for her if I didn't get it fixed, could even lead to lung disease, heart disease, heart failure.

The surgery is June 11th.

Today we went to church, finally able to put the money aside for gas in a world where even gas to drive the forty minutes to get there costs an intimidating enough amount of money to have stopped us from going over a year ago. We went to the front this morning when they called for anyone who needed prayer to step forward and be blessed and prayed over. And I stood there being prayed for in front of the whole congregation, Boyfriend/Fiance and I, crying for our daughter and the risk we're about to take. The risk we have to take.

We stayed after too, to talk to the pastor, ask him if he'd come and pray over her before she goes into surgery this summer. I would have cried then too, but I didn't have to talk and that helped, Boyfriend/Fiance did all the talking, and all I had to do was stand there and fight the tears.

Pastor Paul said he'd come, had me write out the place and date and time, my number and email address. He knew my name already, he and his wife and several others had recognized us and welcomed us back into the fold as soon as we'd gotten there, and that felt good.

Even with the fear, that felt good.

So anyone out there who's the praying kind and reading this ... pray for her, would you? Because it just as easily could have been your daughter.

And I know this is an abrupt ending to the post, but I just can't see the keys anymore, and I can't type without looking at my hands ...