I was lucky to have been born a full term, healthy baby. I’ve never broken a bone, I’ve been hospitalized only twice when I gave birth to my daughters, I’ve had two stitches that were in my hand from trying to separate frozen hotdogs (they were really frozen). My biggest medical concern to date was when my wisdom teeth were removed. Both my girls had more medical interventions within their first 3 months of life than I’ve had in my entire life, and I am realizing there are medical miracles walking among us every day and I had no idea. Heart surgery at six months never truly occurred to me when I was growing up. Since having Ellie I have entered a mysterious world I never knew existed, super heroes in the form of children have now become known to me, before I couldn’t see them, had no idea they existed, but now I do and stories and moments are being revealed to me every day. In December we had a breathing scare with Ellie at 3am and I raced her to the emergency room. As I sat with my tiny baby on what felt like the biggest hospital bed ever, still in my pyjamas, hair on top of my head, Ellie’s nurse came in to tell me a story, of her life with her daughter who has a terminal disease. A life I had never imagined, strength I had never thought possible, from a family who lived near me who I had probably seen in the grocery store. My car broke down the other day, reminding me that bad days don’t always include medical emergencies, and as Ellie babbled in the backseat of the shuttle taking us home, I mentioned how heart surgery was exactly 8 weeks ago. In response, I heard a story of the driver’s son, now 34, who had needed a heart transplant when he was a teenager. How he spent ten days in the hospital, how he had been so sick prior to surgery and now has a girlfriend and a job and a life because another boy died in a car accident and wanted to give away his heart. It is inspiring and amazing. I feel blessed that I have been trusted with so many people’s stories since entering the world of having a special needs child. My first night home from the hospital when Ellie was still in the NICU, one of my darkest days, I received a call from a woman who has a child with Down Syndrome, my midwife had given her my number. She had never met me, never known our family existed, but during that phone call she told me the story of her son. Personal details to make me realize I was not alone and to help me see the children and parents within this world will welcome us and show us the wonders of life surrounding us every day.
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