All I Want for Christmas…is You
Gotta love free airplane wifi. After what was probably the most difficult and rewarding of my trips to Bean town, I’m back on Delta flight 315 on the last leg home. How was it difficult? Let me count the ways:
- Drove 6 hours from Emmetsburg, IA after performing at a lovely wedding. Spent about 1 hour with Amanda and the 2/3rds, then headed to the airport.
- 1st leg of flight delayed an hour. Turns out I could have spent more than 1 hour with the family.
- First flight delay coupled with Delta’s inability to bring the flight deck to the plane results in missing connection to Boston from Minneapolis. Waited in line almost an hour to receive a hotel room and six whole dollars for dinner.
- Slept through alarm for early morning flight, was scheduled on 10am flight instead.
- 10am flight sits on tarmac for 1 hour, takes off, then comes BACK to Minneapolis after 30 minutes to repair de-icing mechanism that probably should have been fixed first.
- Flight canceled. Bumped to a later flight, plus another $6 voucher that I won’t have a moment to use.
26 hours after I left, I arrived in Boston…to the most adorable, vibrant, active, strong Lydia I’ve ever seen. She holds her head up. She smiles incessantly. She’s close to rolling over, and jabbers and coos right back at you. Whatever concerns we had about her development have been greatly eased: she’ll bounce right back with the excellent therapy she receives.
We had the BEST week. Sue, one of her nurses, gifted her with a portable child seat with tray (that she’ll need one day when her esophagus is fixed and she’s eating), but Lydia LOVED the wrapping paper the most.
Yesterday’s surgery (is this 14 or 15?) generally went well. Jennings and Foker spent a great deal of time freeing the distal esophagus pouch from the scar tissue that had formed, and used an internal traction method instead of the external. This means that she will not have to be kept on such heavy sedation and paralytics that take so long to recover from just yet. They were able to gain about 1-2 centimeters of growth, with hopefully more coming.
They were not able to access her upper esophageal pouch, so more procedures are coming; this was more or less expected.
I’m not sure I can accurately describe how painful it was to see her roll down the hallway a smiling, active baby and return naked, sedated, and back on ventilation. We are, in a sense starting all over again, hopefully a little bit wiser. I know now more than ever before what real fear and real hope taste and feel like.
As I left for the airport this morning, she was already beginning to wake up. Her pain is visible, but her nurses were right on top of it with the right mix of versaid and morphine to keep her comfortable.
I’ll be back with Amanda and the 2/3rds in about an hour, and we’ll celebrate Christmas at church and with our families this weekend. We’ll take great delight in the joy in Wyatt and Ava’s faces as they will play with their new loot and interact with their grandparents and cousins, but as usual, there will be an almost tangible sense of what is missing. We’ll be thinking of our Lydia in her deep sleep, her body doing its best to grow and repair in order to be with us for the next holiday season.
The season of Advent focuses on the anticipation and preparation for the arrival of a child. We live this every day of the year, and it is even more apparent and powerful to us now. We’re preparing the way for you Lydia. You’ll be home for Christmas, if only in our dreams.
For your prayers, your thoughts, you kind words, and the village full of help that makes it possible to raise our three, we say thank you. Bless you. And Merry Christmas.
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