Sunday, my mom and I went to Durham/Duke to visit Ryland's family. It was a nice surprise and such a privilege to actually get the chance to go back and see Ryland himself! But more on that in a minute.
The whole ride up to Duke was just weird. It was weird because Claire was not with us (I didn't want to torture her with the car ride or the hospital scenery). It was weird because we were going back to the PCICU. I was not expecting to feel so anxious or so strange going back. We go to Duke all the time for check ups and appointments. What was the big deal? I honestly don't know. But I was so anxious.
Walking down the tunnel felt strange. I didn't have my huge book bag on that I carried up there every day while Claire was there. I felt naked without it. And I didn't have Claire and her huge stroller with our 19 bags that hang on it or are stuffed underneath it as I tend to pack a little "heavy" most of the time.
Once we got to the PCICU and got to see our family and hug their necks, I felt a little better. They all looked so relieved that Ryland's surgery was over and that he was doing well. We talked for a little bit and then Ryland's mom offered for me to go back and see him. I told her that was ok, I did not have to do that. I didn't want to take up someone else's time with him and had not expected to see him. But she was so kind in allowing me to go back.
It was like old times. Hand washing, antibacterial foam, beeps, smells, familiar faces. I actually must have gotten some of the soap or foam on my sleeve of my shirt because I smelled it all day and it would create flash backs. Seriously.
But Ryland was perfect. PERFECT. Beautiful child of God with his hand crafted, specially made heart. I looked into his eyes and saw the same fight and determination I saw so many times in Claire's eyes. It's funny, I didn't even look for his scar until Robin showed it to me. It looked a lot like Claire's except he had some internal stitches sticking out. He seemed so much smaller than Claire did when she had her surgery. His sats were 100%. He was hungry. His blood pressure was a little high but they were working on that with meds. No drainage tube. No breathing tube. And I think the pacing wires came out today. I imagine this baby will be home before they know it.
It was great talking with Robin and her family and sharing stories. No, it's not something you ever dream about. Those many years ago at the Stevenson family reunions in Pamlico County - when we would all hang out together. Who would have thought that we would be tied together by this uncommon bond - being heart mothers. I believe God places specific people in your lives for certain reasons. I wrote a post about that over a year ago. And I still believe that to be true today.
I hope Claire and our family can be a source of inspiration for Ryland and his family. I hope this unexpected connection between our children can bring family closer together. Ryland's aunt and I talked about even all getting together and writing a book for heart moms! :) Time will tell!
After we left Ryland and his family, we headed to the 7th floor to visit Caroline and baby Conner. My mom hung out in the waiting area while I went to visit. Caroline has a nice "cozy" room and I found her working hard at decorating her countdown calendars (counting down to certain week goals, etc for Conner). She is a little over 24 weeks with Conner and has been on bed rest at home for 6 weeks. Her next goal is to get to 28 weeks. The percentage of survival jumps higher at that gestational age. Then I think after that her goal is 34 weeks. But every day and every week are a huge accomplishment.
I felt so bad for her knowing how hard it was for me to be on bed rest just for 1 week! But she didn't seem to mind it one bit. She can see the big picture. The prize at the end of the journey. Her baby boy. I should have gone out and brought her some lunch so she didn't have to eat hospital food. I may do that next time if I get a chance.
We left Duke and were heading to see baby Emerson when we got word that she was not in the mood for visitors! She had just had her 2 hour newborn photo shoot and must have worn herself out. So we were disappointed that we didn't get any of her sugar, but hopefully another time. We visited with Julie and James instead and then headed home.
It was a long day of car riding but it was well worth it. We enjoyed the visits! I could tell this morning though that I was still anxious. I woke up dreaming about all of my extended family on my Granny Maxine's side (including Ryland's family) and we were all drawing colors out of a hat to see who would win a million dollars or some weird thing. I woke up with my teeth clinched together. It's crazy what anxiety can do to you!
The Scott Family
Please also pray for Mylah, another TOF baby friend of Claire's who will possibly have her full repair any day now. http://mendingmylahsheartstrings.blogspot.com/