Anniversaries and Love

Post date: Feb 14, 2011 7:08:35 PM

Warning… we are going to go from lighthearted and happy to pretty sad, heavy stuff today. You have been warned. So no complaining about it later J

Anniversary number one:

19 years ago, give or take, my knight (the shining armor kind) asked my friend if I was seeing anyone. I was 14. He was 15. Such babies!

We were sitting at the same table in Confirmation Class. I gave him my number. He wrote it down wrong. The ended up calling most of the Dempsey’s in the phone book to track me down. Sigh…

Dating was not an option because I was not 30 yet, according to my father. And so we talked on the phone for at least a month before we went on our first actual “date.” It was a school dance at his high school – he was an older boy from a different school – dangerous! – and he didn’t dance, but that’s beside the point.

Anniversary number two:

6 years ago from today the following was posted on Natalie’s caring bridge page. I’ll let you take a moment and read it.

Jenn here. Just got off the phone with Becca. Around 5:15 p.m. today Natalie was taken back into surgery because her blood pressure dropped, her heart rate skyrocked, and she began bleeding out her JP drain. Her abdomen was getting so distended that her kidneys were having a hard time.

Once in surgery they found many blood clots, removed them and her kidneys started producing urine again. The surgeon has reassured them that this is a “normal” bump in the road. Her hepatic artery still looks “beautiful” to quote Dr. Superina, but he is perplexed by this bleed. He is thinking that maybe the large amounts of heparin given to her after surgery #3 might have caused this

Natalie came out of surgery around 7:30 p.m. and is stable. Becca and Jason are back at the Kohl’s house resting. Tomorrow we take Shelby in for testing and appointments - I can’t wait to give them a hug and just let them know of all the support that is out there for them. Please continue to pray for Natalie’s and Becca’s recoveries.

2/14/2005 22:28

It remains the worst day of my life. It remains the cause of my nightmares. It remains, above all else, my proof in God and in miracles.

This was it. This was the day that we thought we were losing our baby.

Jason and I sat, helplessly, in those chairs in the NICU. I was too dumbfounded to remember what he was actually doing. I was watching blood ooze out of my baby’s NP drains, faster and faster. I was watching the numbers on the monitors. Her heart rate was climbing as her blood pressure was dropping. We were watching our baby girl, our fighter, bleed to death.

And then there was Dr. David Axelrod. He was there in scrubs, helping the nurses prep for surgery. “Holy crap. Surgeons don’t help prep.” I remember thinking. There was a flurry of movement, of machines being connected and disconnected. And then her crib was gone. They’d wheeled her away before we really could comprehend what was going on.

I sobbed. I cried. I felt empty. I was out of tears. I was in so much pain (having just had a hunk o’liver removed 5 days prior). I must have walked to the waiting room, because that’s my next memory.

My next memory is Dr. Superina the wonder-surgeon walking toward me, scratching and disheveling his already disheveled hair. “The bleeding stopped,” he said.

“How?” Either me or Jason asked. In the moment I don’t remember who said what.

“I’m not sure,” he said. He had some explanations of heparin being a possible cause, as you read above. But in later conversations with our nursing team, we learned that really didn’t explain it all. We went from complete meltdown to “everything is OK” in a matter of hours. Miracle number two.

Anniversary number three:

Today marks the anniversary of when I was terribly cruel to my baby sister Mandy and it still hurts my heart. See, after the above happened, she called from Iraq. I wasn’t in the mood to talk and told her as much. What was I thinking? She was in Iraq! She was calling to tell me that her friend, Sgt. Jessica M. Housby had died. Jessica’s truck was hit with an IED around the same time that Natalie’s transplant was taking place on February 9th 2005. I cried again. I thought I was out of tears.

Thank you Jessica. Thank you for your love of your country.