Well, we made it. :)
Surgery day started early...I got up at 4:30 am, got ready, and packed up our overnight bag, my laptop, a bunch of books, and of course my girlies.
Kevin stayed home with our other kids until lunchtime, when he took them to a dear friend's house so he could meet me at the hospital.
I met the anaesthesiologist who, it turns out, lived in Ethiopia and worked at the Black Lion Hospital for some number of years. Crazy. And Tigist's nurse's in-laws were missionaries in Ethiopia.
When it was time for surgery, they had me suit up in all the gear, and carry my dear baby into the room. I laid her down on the operating table, stood with her while they put her under, and then they had me give her a final kiss and leave the room.
I nearly bawled. It was awful. Flooded with emotion and "what if"'s and love for my dear, beautiful Tigist. But I kept it together. (Because when I cry, it's always the ugly cry. Always. And I knew I'd never be able to stop.)
And before I knew it, someone came and told me that Tigist was all done.
That things had gone well.
That her heart was fixed.
Again, me on the brink of bursting into tears.
Something so impossible in Ethiopia, but so very important for my daughter, healed in the span of an hour and a half or so.
Of course then it was time to take Mekdes in for her procedure. Another heart-wrenching kiss goodbye.
I also did a lot of praying for and thinking about Mekdes. Unlike Tigist's, her procedure was just diagnostic. Because she needs open heart surgery to fix her defect. And she's lived way too long with it, and it's not uncommon to develop lasting, serious heart damage when that happens. The surgeon needed to see if her body can even withstand open heart surgery, if her heart is even operable.
Those are pretty high stakes. Because we'd been told that without open heart surgery, her lifespan will be cut drastically short by eventual heart failure. NOT something a parent wants to hear. Ever.
So, yeah, I was pretty anxious the entire time she was in there. What would they find?
But then the surgeon came out.
Told me she did great.
She has literally NO HEART DAMAGE.
She is an EXCELLENT CANDIDATE for open heart surgery.
And she apparently USED to have a hole in another part of her heart. But at some point it closed on its own.
Had it not, her heart would have been inoperable.
Meaning a much shortened lifespan. But that hole healed, so now she can have the surgery she so desperately needs.
Just like her first mama would have wanted her to have.
I'm sure any parent whose child has ever had serious surgery knows what I mean when I say I wanted to grab the surgeon and give him a huge hug while jumping up and down and cheering and crying, all at once. I didn't, but I wanted to. God used him to give my babies another shot at life. I'll always be grateful for Dr. Darst and his care and concern for my daughters.
Because things could not have gone better than they did. They went so well, in fact, that we were discharged that afternoon and didn't even have to spend the night! (Guess I didn't need all my books afterall. :) )
And I am convinced, beyond any doubt, that God worked miracles through the Sacrament they received Thursday night, and through all the prayers of friends and family. My parish homeschool group prayed a novena for my daughters in the days leading up to the surgeries, and that morning they all prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet together, for my girls. Friends dedicated their Mass intentions to us. I am beyond grateful, and beyond touched. More than you can imagine.
God has been so extremely faithful to our family throughout all of this. And NOT simply because we had a good outcome. He has lovingly cared for us through His Church and through our many wonderful friends. In a more general sense, I feel as if God has been working overtime in my life this past month and a half or so, breaking me down and building me up. That is, ultimately, a good thing, even if the circumstances are hard. Maybe especially because the circumstances are hard.
So thank you, thank you, thank you for everything!!! Mekdes and Tigist are doing great, and I'll be sure to let you know when we get the (deep breath) open heart surgery scheduled.