**The pictures in this post are very personal and I only share them with family and close friends. I put a watermark on each picture in this post. I do not want Ollie to fall victim to any fake Facebook profiles or “click like to save this child” posts that float around the internet.
David and I bought this picture a few months before Oliver was born. It is by Simon Dewey and is titled “In His Constant Care” It hangs in Ollie’s nursery.
My head hurt so bad I had to lie down. I was so nervous and jittery. I tried everything I could think of to distract myself. I played on my phone, read comments from friends, and sent text messages to my family that wasn’t there. We were told that the surgical team would call us periodically with updates. The room we were in had multiple families waiting for their children just like we were. There were two people up front and they would answer the calls and ask for a representative from the family to come up to the front for their phone call. Before we got our first phone call our surgeon came walking in to the room. My heart sank. I thought Oliver must have died and he was coming to give us the bad news. Luckily Oliver was fine and our surgeon was coming to tell us that it had taken longer than usual to get started because they had a hard time getting an arterial line in Ollie. He had been the one to finally place it and they would be getting started shortly. I felt better at this point and decided I would visit one of the hospital pumping rooms. David came with me. We went down to the CICU to use the room down there and I remember it feeling empty since I knew Ollie wasn’t in there. I labeled and dated my milk and gave it to a nurse and then headed back upstairs. David forced me to eat a breakfast sandwich and managed to get a few bites down my throat. I tried sitting in a chair and couldn’t take the pain of my headache so I lied down on the ground. I was so anxious to get our phone call letting us know how everything was going. The phone rang and I had a feeling it would be for us. Sure enough the receptionist asked for the parents of Boy Lish. Despite my headache I bolted up from the floor and David and I hurried to the front. I refused to touch the phone because I didn’t want to be the one to receive any bad news (selfish I know) so David did the honors each time. He had an unemotional look on his face and I thought there must be bad news. When he hung up I looked at him expectantly and he told me that Ollie was on bypass and everything was going good. We walked back to our seats and our parents looked anxious to know what news we had just gotten. We relayed the good news and resumed our positions. Me on the floor and David in a chair “studying” for school. I told David that he needed to smile if it was good news the next time we got a phone call so I didn’t pass out with fear. The next phone call was a report that Ollie was doing well and the surgery was officially underway. David smiled so I would know it was good news and I gave our parents a thumbs up. We walked back to our seats and tried to keep ourselves as occupied as possible. My mom had started a group text with my family that morning and we would give them updates as we got them. My family said that they were very uptight. My sister Cassie said she text my mom at least 101 times. All were praying for us and very anxious to hear how it was going. I received many texts and messages on Facebook wishing us well and letting us know they were praying for us. I felt each and every prayer. They were tangible. I felt comfort and peace and strength that I knew wasn’t my own. It was truly one of the most spiritual days of my life. Our last phone call reported that Oliver’s surgery was over and they were just finishing the echo to make sure his heart was functioning how they wanted. We were told our surgeon would be out to see us within an hour. A few hours later we still hadn’t seen our surgeon and were starting to get nervous. He finally walked in and he knelt down on the ground by me where I was laying and told us how the surgery went. Everything went really well. The only obstacle they had was getting his bleeding to stop at the end. The reason it took so long was because he wouldn’t stop bleeding so they had to take their time packing the area and cleaning it up. He told us we would get a call again as soon as we could see him. It was at this very moment that I grew a love for this complete stranger. This man had spent a good majority of his life in school learning how to operate on a heart the size of a walnut. He had just stood for 8 hours straight fixing my sons heart. I can’t imagine the exhaustion he must feel after work. He left us and we continued our waiting game. There was a certain sense of relief now. We knew that he survived up to this point. The odds were looking pretty good! We finally got our phone call and we rushed down to the CICU. I could not have prepared myself for the sight I saw when we walked into his pod in the CICU. There was a tube or IV coming out of every orifice. His chest would be left open for a few days so it was covered with a white plate of sorts.
He was asleep. We walked up to his side and touched his hands and feet. We talked to him and told him how proud we were of him. He opened his eyes a little bit and it killed me when he did. I couldn’t stand the thought of him being in pain. We sat with him for a few hours and then went back to our hotel room. Our parents stayed with him. When David and I got back to our hotel room we fell to our knees and said a prayer. We thanked our Father in Heaven for sparing Ollie’s life and helping us all through this long day. We packed up our belongings and headed back to the hospital. We were lucky enough to get a sleep room that was on the same floor as Oliver. We sat with him for a few more hours and got to know his nurses a little better. When we reached exhaustion we said a hard goodbye to Ollie and went to our sleep room. Again we said a prayer of thanks and crawled in our twin bed and fell asleep. I was pumping every few hours so we got to see Ollie in the middle of the night. David sat with him while I pumped…then we reluctantly went back to our sleep room. It was comforting to see him every few hours and also knowing we were so close in case something went wrong. You live in constant paranoia for quite a while after surgery.
I want to stress the power of prayer. It is real. God is real. He loves us and is mindful of each of us. He wants to help us. He will help you through the trials of this life. Do not abandon him in your time of need. This illustration of the Savior gives me comfort.