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What were you doing 6 years ago, on this date?

posted Feb 9, 2011, 4:54 AM by Becca K.   [ updated Feb 9, 2011, 6:54 PM ]

6 years ago on Ash Wednesday I was laying on an operating room table, giving my daughter a second chance at life with a new liver. Jesus came into my life, like never before at that moment, and I've never been the same. I've said time and time again how because of Natalie I am a better person.

To celebrate on February 9th the 6th liver's birthday (as Natalie calls it) or the 6th re-birthday as I call it, I want to share all of this with you. Here is what I wrote 5 years ago. Since Natalie is still re-listed, it seems bittersweet.

What were you doing a year ago, on this date?

I was laying in the hospital. So was Natalie.

She was having her "Dirty Rotten Liver" (in the words of Angel Haley) removed and I was having a big hunk of liver removed from me.

My mom and I arrived at the Northwestern Hospital early that Ash Wednesday morning. We had slept the night at the Kohl's house and a CMH security van drove us to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. We had all arrived the night before, and Jason and Natalie had spent the night at Children's. I didn't want to leave them there, alone the night before the surgery; that much I remember.

It was snowing and still dark as we left for the hospital. The snow was those huge flakes and glistened on the window of the security van. The hospital was just starting to wake up as my mom and I arrived. I'd been to this hospital before, when Jason had knee surgery and all the waiting rooms look the same. There we sat; I think that there was another couple in the room.

And then they called my name. I went into a room to change into a gown. It really wasn't a room, there were 3 walls and a curtain, and a TV, it was more of a pod. Anyway, I changed and then we walked with another patient to a surgical prep area. I laid on a gurney staring at the dry erase board with doctor and patient assignments. There I was, "Dr. Abecassis 0730."

After what seemed like an eternity, an IV was placed but no medication was started. I was looking at the clock. What was taking so long? Didn't they know that I needed to have surgery start at 7:30? Didn't they know that my daughter was counting on me? My mom stepped out of the room, to call my dad I think, where was she? What was taking so long?

Then Dr. Abecassis came into the room. He held him thumb at my xiphoid process and his finger at my belly button, lining up the incision area and asked, "Do you still want to do this? You can say no at any time." Without hesitation I said, "Sure." He stopped in his tracks and turned again to me and said, "Becca, don't take this decision lightly. You may die from this. Are you sure?" I sat for what couldn't have been more than 10 seconds, but it felt like a lifetime and the warmest feeling came over me (I say again, they hadn't given me any medications yet). It felt like all the love I'd ever experienced in my life wrapped around me like a blanket. I turned to my surgeon and said, "Yeah, Jesus and I are cool."

What follows is a blur at best because soon after they started the sedation medication, most likely Versed. I remember being wheeled down a hallway and then waking up 6 or so hours later, feeling, well sore doesn't begin to describe the pain. A doctor, whose name I never learned, squeezed my arm and said, "You've just reserved your place in heaven."

The pictures below were posted to our site on the first anniversary. The picture that you see of me in the hospital gown was taken just hours after the surgery by my loving husband when he arrived to check on me. He stayed at Children's Memorial for most of the day, trying as best as he could to "bounce" between the hospitals.
 
Help us celebrate!

How? You ask.

Become an organ donor. Do it for Natalie. Do it for all the kids (and adults) waiting for an organ. Natalie is still listed (although inactive) for a liver - this was done 2 days after transplant when her hepatic artery clotted. Be an organ donor.

Be a blood donor - she received 24 - that's right 24 blood transfusions the summer she had PTLD (a form of lymphoma)

And Happy 6th Re-birthday Princess Nataliebear!!!
I love you so very much and I'm honored to be your mom.

And thanks to all of you that helped ease the burden of our journey. May your lives be as blessed as you have made ours.
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