Q.) How were you so strong?
A.) I get this question a lot, the truth is that most of the time.. I wasn't. I wasn't strong, I broke down many times. After I first found out, I went into the bathroom and cried my eyes out. I wondered why?! Why my child? (although I would never wish it on any child). What did I ever do in my life that was so bad to deserve this?! There is no answer to that. I will never know why it happened but it happened and I had to deal with it. People always say "I couldn't even imagine" or "I couldn't do it" Well of course nobody wants to imagine something horrible happening to their child but if it did, you would be able to handle it because that's all you can do. If I had the choice of letting her go into surgery that day or erasing everything and making her magically healthy so she didn't need surgery, I would have chose the latter. You just have to take it day by day (as cliche as that sounds) and some days hour by hour. It's okay to breakdown, it helps. My main goal was to be there for her and I was. I was with her every single day and night at that hospital.
Q.) Are you happy that she won't remember any of it?
A.) Yes, now I am. When people said "she won't remember this" while it was happening, it didn't make me feel any better. I knew she wouldn't remember it but it was happening at that time and she could feel pain, I hated that. I wanted to her to be comfortable and happy but that wasn't the case. I truly did wish that I could take her pain away, I wished it happened to me instead. When she is older, I will definitely tell her the whole story and make sure she knows how truly strong she is.
Q.) Did it affect your marriage?
A.) Yes, something so significant will definitely shake things up a bit. There were ups and downs but we got through them and I think it made our marriage stronger in the end. Everyone deals with emotions differently, my husband and I have two completely different ways. I won't say he was in denial but he was much more positive than I was. He didn't want to believe anything would have a bad outcome and he also was trying to be strong for me. I tried to prepare myself for the worst. I did try to be positive but at the same time, I didn't want to turn a blind eye. I wanted to make sure no stone was left unturned, that she was getting the care and help that she needed. Even if I was wrong about what I might have thought was wrong with her, I wouldn't take it back. I needed answers and even if my questions were way out there, I asked them anyway.
Q.) What helped you through?
A.) Normally I'm not a very emotional person, I rarely cry. I can honestly say that I cried more in that one month than I did my entire life. Crying really helped, I had to let it out or I would have gone crazy. A lot of things helped me through, not just one thing. My family and friends support was a huge help, so many people were praying for Olivia and a lot came to visit, sent gifts or just messaged me to say they were thinking of her. The hospital also had some counselors and I spoke to a few of them, they were really nice and very supportive. Even the hospital staff shared their stories about their own children, some of them went above and beyond to make sure Olivia was comfortable. I really think the biggest help was talking, about everything. Exactly what happened and what would happen, what might happen, what I had fears about, just anything I could think of. Also, having some time alone with Olivia gave me a chance to clear my head and just focus on how adorable and perfect she was to me. I would talk to her all the time even though she was usually sleeping. I would tell her about her room, her cats, her toys and books. I would tell her all the things we were gonna do once we got home and how much I loved her. I know she didn't understand me but it made me feel better.
Q.) Do you still worry about her heart?
A.) Of course, I always will. Every parent has worries, healthy child or not. I might be a little more paranoid just because of what happened but I try on most days to just enjoy my time with her. Worrying is usually pointless. I worried my whole pregnancy about what could go wrong and not one of my fears was about her heart. So all that worrying didn't help in any way. When I did find out about her heart, I dealt with it at that moment. My best advice is to try your best not to worry because things you worry about probably won't happen and things you don't worry about, might. There is no way of predicting tragedies. I almost lost my child and I would have never thought that could happen to me. "If you didn't bring her in, she would have died." -ER doctors exact words. I will never forget that because it echoed in my head, it was the scariest thing I've ever heard.
Thanks for the questions everyone. If you have any other questions, just comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do another Q&A soon!
The tattoo on my wrist has even more meaning to me now, she is strong.