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Grateful

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Today, this moment, this evening I am grateful. So very grateful that we are home. All of us. The last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions and ups and downs which I haven't experienced in a very long time, if at all. Since part of this blog is a journal of my family's life, a recording for me to look back on, I feel the need to write this all down. And the need to explain our absence from here. 

Some of you may remember that I've spoken of a cyst that Greta was born with in her neck, they found it at my 20 week ultrasound and we watched it throughout my pregnancy. At birth it wasn't a problem, or even visible. But at a few weeks old it grew to the size of a golf ball. We watched it for a few weeks and then one day it disappeared, or I should say drained. Just like that. And since that day I have not thought about this cyst until last month. 

Mid December Greta woke up in terrible pain, with fever and a lump on her neck in the exact location of the cyst. It was a Sunday so I took her to urgent care where they thought because of her history most likely it was now the cyst along with an infection. Over the next week we went to many doctor appointments and had ultrasounds. Antibiotics were changed 3 times along with our ENT attempting to drain it in his office, to no avail. The next step we took was to have our ENT drain it with a radiologist and pathologist present, along with an anesthesiologist and have a biopsy taken. This was done two weeks ago, and she began a two week course of antibiotics to fight the infection which the biopsy now had determined to be a strain of strep.

The procedure was fairly successful and they discovered it had abscessed. They really hoped that the medication was going to take care of what they were unable to drain, but sadly, over the next week her neck swelled and then got smaller, but ultimately the fever returned along with evidence of the same infection. This time our ENT felt it was beyond his ability to contain and sent us to the local children's hospital with all our records. Last Tuesday we checked into the hospital and they did a ct scan to determine the exact type of cyst she had, and decided it was bad enough where they needed to go in and drain it aggressively. The following day they took her in for the surgery, and once again we had to say goodbye to her and leave her in the hands of the doctors. The cyst was indeed the one she was born with and we found out that in a few months when the infection is gone and she is completely healed we will need to get it removed along with part of her thyroid, which is where it is located. If not, we risk an infection like this again and the whole process would start over, and we again would need to wait months before we could take action to take it out permanently.

We spent a few days in the hospital and came home on Friday. She is doing great, and the incision is healing well. We want nothing more than a healthy baby girl again. She is a good patient who is drinking her bone broth and taking her arnica tablets, along with her antibiotics and probiotics. She's sleeping great and almost back to her normal self. We have doctor appointments this week, but we are hopeful this infection is behind us. 

I tried to write this in the least emotional way I knew how. I want to document everything, most definitely, but there's nothing easy or pleasant about any of it. This experience put so much in perspective for me. We were on the pediatric floor, next to rooms with children who wouldn't return home in a few days. Next to children who were there to receive bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy and organ transplants. Children who knew the names of every staff person, nurse, janitor and doctor. Children whose rooms were decorated with lights and posters, and also inside doors taped with strict instructions of who were allowed to enter, and what protective clothing they were required to be wearing. Some children we never ever saw, and never saw anyone enter or leave them either. For most children there, this floor is their home.

Laying in Greta's hospital bed Tuesday night listening to her sleep I also could hear the sounds of our next door neighbor. A little girl whose mom and nurse were trying to make the most of their New Year's Eve with sparkling apple juice and plastic champagne glasses. My heart broke a little each day as my daughter got well and their future was so uncertain. We would walk the halls with Greta and her IV pole and we would always stop at one little newborn's room. He was 4 weeks old and waiting for a procedure. We would peek from the door just to see if he was awake or not. If we heard him cry we would go tell the nurse and hope she would go pick him up or feed him. I never saw his mama. The day we left we saw them wheeling his crib down the hallway, we knew he was going to have a surgery since he had strict orders of no formula the night before. I don't know if he will be ok, but I hope. These are all the reasons why I am grateful. Grateful that not for one moment was she alone, that she never slept in the hospital without Aaron or I with her. That we were able to take her home with us. That she will be fine.

I am also grateful for modern medicine. Grateful for doctors who treated Greta confidently and thoroughly. Grateful for Aaron who was a rock through it all. Grateful for my family who was there from admittance to discharge. Grateful that I was able to remain composed and think logically during this experience.

As I was signing forms with the anesthesiologist, Greta rested in the bed beside me, right in front of the operating room doors. She was feeling anxious, but comfortable. They had given her something to calm her nerves and I knew she would be fine as they wheeled her away. At the last moment the doctor looked at me as I calmly explained to Greta I would be there when she woke up and she wouldn't remember any of this. No hysteria, no tears. The doctor looked at me and handed me a white suit to put on, a mask, and a hat. She told me I could come with her until she was sleeping. Walking in to that operating room, knowing that now you better hold it together, and watching them strap your daughter down, hook up sensors and tubes, all the while stroking her forehead and telling her she will be asleep soon was one of the hardest moments. And then once she closed her eyes, the doctor peeled from her grasp the red blanket that has followed her through this entire ordeal from birth, and handed it to me. The doctor knew this blanket couldn't get lost, couldn't be misplaced. So I left the room clutching this red blanket until the moment they let me back in to see her where I laid it over her chest as she cried and fell back asleep over and over again as the anesthesia wore off. And that red blanket will be us with for a very long time, I know it. 

*Thank you for checking in with us, those of you on Instagram have followed us through this ordeal, and your thoughts and prayers mean more to us than anything. I hope to be back to a normal posting schedule soon, but I know you all understand my absence.