It's only been just shy of two years, so let's dust off this blog and see what happens.
There's no need for an update, I'm a prolific instragrammer and most updates are just pictures of my kids, and my kids are my life. My purpose for writing tonight is the just be writing again. And of all nights, the eve of Ivy's surgery-versary.
That's a thing, a surgery-versary. Every year, on June 19, from three years ago until forever, I will celebrate. I imagine Ivy will be in her 20s and I'll fly to wherever she is just to be near her. To hold her. June 19 was (and still is) the best day of my life.
I love The Moth on NPR. It's an obsession that has grown into a hobby that has made me think of pursuing other things because of the joy I feel when I share my stories. Two years ago I told the story of Ivy's surgery at the story slam in New Orleans, and a few months ago it was selected to be on the radio. Families from all over the country contacted me thanking me for being honest with the fears, real with the pain, and awkwardly humorous about something so intense. I felt my vulnerability paid itself tenfold because I was able to connect with people. That's what life is about.
Three years ago tonight, I had just fed Ivy to bed and the most real fear filled my whole body. I was worried she was sick because she coughed, about three times. If she was sick, she couldn't have the surgery. I didn't sleep that night because I knew that when I woke up, it was go time. I didn't want to hand her over to the doctors. I didn't want her to be put under. I didn't want to let her go.
She was so tiny. She didn't even sit up on her own yet. Waiting in the room before we went down stairs to the OR I felt like we were lying to her. We looked at her, and she starred back at us with her deep blue eyes thinking it was a normal day. They dressed her in this little peach hospital gown, and I was angry that gowns were even made that small. The neurosurgeon went through the "risk" forms one more time, as protocol would demand, and as she did, she handed me tissues. She made a mental note from prior appointments- mom's a crier.
None of this day is a blur. I could walk you through every single minute. The people who visited, the food that was brought, the 15 minutes of League of their Own I watched on my mom's iPad. I can tell you about when a nurse came out and said, "Avery's mom?" and I stood up and walked to the door, only having Ken pull me back down and tell me that Avery was at home. I can tell you about how my best friend took a personal day from work to sit with me the entire day. I can tell you about how my mom moved in with us for a month to care for Avery and Eliza. I can tell you about how my dad came to the hospital and was overcome with the experience and walked the hospital, and even made small talk with the reconstructive surgeon who was working on Ivy.
Etched in my mind are the sounds of that day. The way the door opened to the waiting room. The way you felt when every parent was just waiting to hear their kid's name called. It was three years ago, but it could have been yesterday.
I stayed with Ivy in the PICU her first night and the next day when Ken came, he told me that my parents took the kids to the park. I was exhausted. I didn't sleep with Ivy because a combination of anxiety and complete joy dwelled in me making sleep only an option. I left the hospital for a few hours to shower, but I drove to the park first. I walked up and Avery spots me and comes running, and then of course Eliza followed. I held them in my sweaty arms and I kissed their wet curls and they said, "Where's Ivy?"
At home my mom was bustling about in the kitchen making lunch for the girls, and they were playing. I stood next to the refrigerator, and broke down sobbing. An enormous weight was lifted off my shoulders. She was alive. I breathed in this joy and exhaled my fear that I rarely admitted but more certainly held in my soul. My mom held me and cried too. The I went to take a shower, but turned back one more time, looked at my girls and said "This doesn't make sense without Ivy."
Tonight I listened to The Moth, like I do on Sunday nights, and was so moved by the stories. Then I thought of Ivy's story, of mine. So I pulled up the podcast on my phone and listened to myself share the most terrifying experience of my life on public radio. And cried.
One day I can give that story to Ivy.
One day we can listen together and she can know what a brave person she is.
(here's the link: https://themoth.org/stories/if-this-hair-could-talk)
Happy Cranio Surgery-versary my baby girl. I love you more that you'll every know.