Caroline was born on April 29. We learned, just after we scheduled her C-section. . . well, it was really my
C-section, that her birthday was going to coincide with our friends Pete C. & Brittany L. And
more importantly, she would share a birthday with Dale Earnhardt
(senior). Where we come from, that's big news. But, the 29th was to be the day.
Five months later, we were awaiting a phone call from Vanderbilt Children's Hospital (VCH) confirming a date for her open heart surgery. They chose September 29
. Again, with the 29th.
Here it is the 29th of September -- two years later. In on sense, it feels like only yesterday. In another, I think I've lived a lifetime in those two years.
I have done a couple of digital layouts of Caroline's time at VCH. In my "regular" scrapbooks, I have six or seven pages dedicated to our time in Nashville.
Part of me would like to chronicle the whole day for you. Another part of me just wants to quietly reflect with the layouts, and let the pictures tell the story for me. I don't suppose I have to tell you it was a difficult day. It was an emotional day. It was a scary day. But, most of all -- it was a LONG day!
After her surgery was complete, the surgeon came in and told us that she had come through the surgery just fine. She said that we could go see her -- we assumed -- right then. We waited a few minutes, shared a brief prayer - and went upstairs to the 5th floor. We would become very familiar with the 5th floor.
Unfortunately, the girl at the desk buzzed us in about 45 minutes before we should have gone in there. Caroline looked pretty rugged, and I was quickly instructed to get the heck out of there, and come back after an hour or so. I obliged, ate dinner, and came back. When I did, this is sort of what we saw.
These pictures were actually taken 2-3 days after surgery. Those first couple of days are rough. In fact, there was one day, I believe the 2nd, where she was so swollen, you really couldn't recognize her. But, it was still my baby girl.
The staff at VCH is phenomenal. They are caring, dedicated individuals who treat every patient as if they were their own children. We ended up staying in the PCCU (Pediatric Critical Care Unit) for a full 19 days, rather than the 4-5 we had been told to expect. Caroline's heart was damaged during the surgery, and she would require a pacemaker. She still has a little disk in her tummy - kind of reminds you of a scrapbooker's tape runner.
The journaling on that one is hard to read. I have printed the lyrics to an old Steven Curtis Chapman song, "As I look back on the road I've traveled, I see so many times He's carried me through; And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life, My Redeemer is faithful and true. Everything He has promised, he will do. Every morning His mercies are new. My Redeemer is faithful and true."
During her stay, we listened to her Praise Baby DVD over and over and over. The songs, "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever," and "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" will forever remind me of those days in the PCCU. However, it was the song I sang to her that will forever be Caroline's Song
. It is a song called, "I Will Sing" by Don Moen. I didn't have an original available to listen to, so I just sang the chorus over and over to her. And you know me, A/R musician that I am -- I sang it in tune & rhythm with her heart monitor. The pitch of the monitor, actually, fits quite nicely in my alto range. It's one of those "when life gives you lemonade" kind of things.
That's where I'll leave you for today. For those of you who have known, loved, and supported us through the past couple of years, we thank you more than words can say. For my newer friends, welcome to my little world. This is where and why and how my heart beats. Thanks for enduring my longest post yet. You all are awesome!!Oh. . . and. . .Happy 29th!!