I’ve been having a hard time starting this. Mostly because my emotions are so mixed and crazy when I think about all the chaos going on this time last year. December 2017 was like the worst of my life and a blur and I just don’t know what to say except thank you God.
There is a light, we made it through.
Today Riley is one year post op for a ventricular septal defect (vsd) repair.
I’m not going to write some big sad post because today is not about that, today we are celebrating her remarkable recovery.
Riley and I spent about a month in CHOP awaiting her surgery – in short, it was terrifying and nerve wracking, but one of the most amazing hospitals.
One of the things I most appreciated while I was there were how families of former patients made it a point to give back to current patients. For instance, there were snack bags in certain waiting areas, or like face wipes and chapstick, Riley even got this beautiful hand made quilt on the day of her surgery. They were simple acts of kindness, that just reminded you there was still good in the world, that you weren’t alone.
So today after work I’m dropping off some gift bags a bunch of us put together for a few families of other heart babies, in hopes of making their stay a little more comfortable. CHOP was so good to us I decided to do this every year with Riley to teach her the importance of giving back.
It’s kind of wild when you think about it – CHOP is literally a giant kids hospital where everyone is super sick so you think it’d be this super heavy place and it can be, but the amount of love and light inside that place is endless.
Now I sound like a sap. But seriously. They took care of Riley , and they took care of me. Everyone did really – my friends, family, even my interwebby friends made it a point to check in on us, to offer support, prayers, good vibes and Netflix passwords. For all this I am truly grateful, it made our stay and our situation more bearable.
Riley left the hospital at maybe 8lbs at about 10 weeks old. She wasn’t even on that chart thing your pediatrician does, she was like negative five for weight.
Well. If you follow my child on social media, then you know this kid loves food. She took bulking season seriously and caught back up to a normal weight in no time.
(That is freaking filet man. She not only got healthy but also developed an exquisite and expensive taste palette 🤣)
She was a little behind with a few things like rolling because of the surgery but wasted no time learning other tricks. She is thriving and healthy and doing so well that she doesn’t need to see the specialist again for another 2 years. She is a miracle.
Almost ironically, Riley happens to have one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. She just like loves people and animals and is so damn sweet. I hope by teaching her the importance of these small acts of kindness and to pay it forward, she will grow up and do amazing things.
( I not so secretly would love if she became a heart surgeon.. just cause it’d be cool but I digress).
Today as we celebrate Riley’s recovery, I ask you make a point to say a little prayer or send good vibes or rub a crystal ..whatever you’re into, for all the other babies and children having surgery today.
And Riley, my sweet angel, my best friend, the love and light of my life. You are a warrior. I love you.
Be the light.
(This was about an hour before her surgery, I’m dying 😭 – she was the cutest patient).
(She won this during a raffle at CHOP… how did I know she would be wild 😜).