The worst day of my life was on the 5th day of my daughter’s life…
First, I couldn’t be there…and that in and of itself was pure torture.
2nd, although I knew she needed this surgery, it still was really hard to accept that at 5 days old she was going to be undergoing a very serious and complex surgery.
The day before I had to sign consent to the surgery. A new pediatric cardiac surgeon at Vanderbilt explained the surgery, intially a bt shunt, but due to her arteries being ample size, they decided to go with the full repair. They would place a conduit and repair her VSD. The surgeon had a kind demeanor and answered all my questions.
I then signed the hardest signature I have ever had to sign. I was placing trust in them that they would be successful, and my ultimate trust was that God would give her strength and heal her heart.
That night I don’t think I slept that well. All I could think about was that Sajda had not even opened her eyes yet in her short life. She was so weak those first few days. She had purple hands and feet.
During the surgery they gave me frequent updates. When they took her back, when they put her on the heart lung machines, when they started, and all through out the procedure. I am grateful that they gave me those updates.
I was at home, and spent most of the time in bed, I think that was the only way I could handle not being at the hospital with her. I regret not trying to find someone to watch my son, but honestly I didn’t have the ability to really think it out cause I was just trying to hold it together, be strong for her, be strong for me, and still care for my other four children.
Finally after hours, I think a total of 5-6 they were done. They were really happy with how the surgery had went and she was doing good by all accounts. I could not wait to go see her. I called my husband and asked him to pick me and our youngest son to the hospital. He picked us up and dropped us off, but due to work he couldn’t stay. We waited for what seemed forever and finally they let us come back and see her.
When I first saw her, I almost didn’t recognize her if it wasn’t for her Mohawk hair LOL. She was so swollen from her head to her toes. She had so many wires and tubes. Her chest had been cut open and closed. Her skin was yellow tinted and looked drained of life. It was hard not to be disturbed by her state even though she was doing well. I tried to be brave even then, but it was hard to see. Yet for me there was no other place I would rather be than with her.
For her daddy, it was too hard to see. Everyday I would go see her but he couldn’t bring himself to see her like that. I think that he knew I was looking out for her for one. I was almost mad at him, but then I asked him about it. He almost in tears talked about how hard it was to think about his new daughter going thru this, barely hanging onto life, not yet opening her eyes. He wanted to see her, but preferred to wait till she was extubated and breathing on her own again. So I went alone and spent time with her because it helped me to do that. And everyday she improved little by little.
Every night before bed I would call the nurses to check on her. Then whenever I woke up in the early hours of the morning I would call again. And later in the morning, usually after taking the boys to school, I would go to visit her for an hour, pump some milk to deliver to them and also eat my breakfast with her.
And then finally she saw daddy. And I think it was love at first sight. She stole his heart that day.