Up until we had our last Leap Day four years ago, this day never had much of a meaning to me. Except now it does…and I feel fairly certain saying that it always will.
Four years ago today, Annabelle had her second surgery in her two short months of life. This surgery was to place her g-tube (feeding tube directly into her belly). She wasn’t a big eater and struggled so badly it hurt me to even try a bottle with her. You could see her trying so hard for the first couple of minutes and then she’d be so tired and just exhausted that she would fall asleep. Her heart couldn’t manage the effort and endurance that it required for her to nourish herself. I wanted her to be “normal”, but this simple task of eating was beyond daunting for her. She had a big enough feat with her little heart that I didn’t want anything else to be hard for her. Taking her milk was impossible and wasn’t getting us any closer to home.
And home was my only goal at that time.
Thankfully, a dear heart mama friend spoke some sense into me one day after the attending had mentioned a g-tube. My heart was broken for yet another hurdle my baby girl would have to face but this mama used her wise experience to put things into perspective for me. After my ranting over another surgery and all that it entailed, she very plainly and honestly said to me “it’s just food”. That was all I needed. We were only talking about food…not another heart issue…and something that could so easily be helped. Later that day I told the attending that we would go ahead with it.
Scott and I walked alongside Annabelle’s crib as a nurse pushed her to the surgery floor. We kissed her sleeping head and prayed over her safety. Then, we held hands and cried on our walk back up to her room…where we waited for her to return.
I can remember every time that I had to let her go into the arms of another person...trusting that they would take care of her perfectly for me in my absence. None of them is easy…but then again none of them remotely comes close in comparison to letting her go into Jesus’ arms either. The safest arms for her were the ones that hurt me the most.
The surgery was quick…especially compared to the nearly 10 hours of open heart surgery she had already endured. She was back in her room before we knew it with a new little accessory. Her tube was just another badge she wore…another sign that her precious and beautiful little body was broken.
But, it got us to the goal…home.
Just three days later, we were loading up and driving towards Columbia on I-26 seeing Charleston in the rearview mirror…as a family of four.
I didn’t take one moment of our time together at home for granted. It was all I wanted. I didn’t let my mind go any further than having her here. We would cross other bridges once we got to them. I knew every day and every moment was a gift. I am so thankful that we lived that way with her, too.
So although today officially is the first Leap Day since Annabelle’s g-tube surgery…it’s also a day to be celebrated. That silly little pain in my rear end tube got us home…and for that I am forever thankful.
I am so looking forward to Saturday and the 3 weeks and 3 days following it…those are the days where we can truly remember the tremendous blessing of having our daughter in our home and the sweetest gift that it was.
And just because God is awesome…He sent a white butterfly to me just a few moments ago. I had to keep watching it out the kitchen window because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Yes, dear friends, He loves us that much and has one happy little girl whispering sweet gifts into His ear just for her mommy on days like today…