Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let me take you back 24+ hours ago

February 17, 2012 I awoke at 8:00am to the intercom in Kamryn's room. Someone said, "Is Kamryn's mom there? I have a phone call for her." I picked up the phone to here Jason, a transplant coordinator say, " I wanted to make sure you had a good night sleep. Today is going to be a long day. We have accepted a heart for Kamryn." As my heart beat out of my chest I said, "You have a heart for Kamryn." He said, "Yes, expect her to go into surgery around 2:00." I hung up, called Mike and said, "They have a heart for Kamryn." I waited. He breathes and says, "I don't know what to think,I don't know what to feel, I don't know what to do." I said, "I know, I'll call your mom." He says, "I call other people." I called Carol. With each person I called the same reaction came. It was put on facebook and there began the prayers. When I finally got a hold of my parents in Scotland, a frustrating endeavor, their reaction was the same. Mike went to his classes in Delridge. I then decided to get ready for the day and went to RMH for a shower. I arrived back at the hospital. Jason the TC came around to talk briefly. I asked him the questions that were being asked of me. Where is the heart coming from?... He very graciously said, "I can't answer those questions." But focus them on this. President Obama is in town and it took a lot of coordination on our part to make sure the heart could get here. Don't worry it will be here, the team is on their way to get it. Children's hospital sends a surgical team out to retrieve the organs it transplants into patients who need them. This happened all before 10:00am.

Rounds were at 10:30 am. The talk was about what to do for Kamryn's transplant. Blood work was drawn, her feedings were stopped during the night, medication was given and she was being prepared for surgery. I saw the anesthesiologist, surgeon, and hospital social worker. Mike came to the hospital, he had been released from class by his boss. Thank you. Family had been coordinated to arrive at various times. Kevin, Stephanie, Charlie, Teed and Haeley came first. Kamryn's team of nurses and a different anesthesiologist came to further prepare Kamryn for surgery. She was given medication to knock her out and the procession to the OR started. That turned out to be a dress rehearsal. The heart at the other location had not been clamped off yet, and wasn't in the air yet. We went back to the room, the team decided to place some lines into Kamryn while they had her asleep. The family went up to a waiting room upstairs. Mike and I stayed and awaited the next processional to the OR. It came at about 3:00pm. We walked down the long corridor to the entrance of the OR. I couldn't reach Kamryn to kiss her on the head so the anesthesiologist moved her on the bed. I kissed her little head and told her to "be good". Mike kissed her too. And then we walked back to her empty room and sat down. Although I didn't like the empty room, I was at peace.

 Those of you who read this and have no faith or hope are going to say, "How can you be at peace? You just sent your 9 week old baby for a surgery that could end her life." To you I say good question. My peace came from knowing God has a purpose for all of this and he will use it for good. She was in his hands and would take care of her.

 Now the waiting begins. Mike and I joined our family upstairs and began the waiting. Grammy, auntie Beth and all of the kids arrived. When a family of 6 arrive anywhere it changed the dynamics. There were 15 of us in a waiting room. People looked in and some were brave enough to come in. While there I caught the eye of a young mother. We later talked about Kamryn and her daughter (age 7 with leukemia). She couldn't imagine what we were going through, and I couldn't imagine what was happening to her child either. We exchanged "I will pray for your child." and off she went.

 There are stages to a heart transplant. A lot of waiting is done because of the coordination and the timing of the surgery. I have been carrying a pager around with me for weeks. It hadn't ever gone off before. It buzzed at 4:40pm. I called the number, they said "The surgery has started." It buzzed again at 5:00. I called they said, "She is on the bypass machine." At 6:00 it went off again. I called, "The heart is in and beating." This is the critical moment. The surgery could go well and there could be no other problems but if the heart doesn't start beating... Well you get the picture. Anyway there was joy, celebration and tears in the waiting room. After a heart is transplanted the surgeons wait around and watch it. Rhythms are checked, leaks are fixed, tubes are placed along with wires for a pacemaker. With this surgery the heart is sometimes a little large,the new heart doesn't like it or there is swelling that causes them to leave the chest open. This is not the case for Kamryn. Her chest was closed and she was taken back to her room. I hope never to have to have a pager again. My heart beat out of my chest with each buzz. Mike and I spoke to the surgeon later. He was pleased with the surgery and the new heart. Mike and I were able to see her after the surgery. She looked pink and beautiful with rosy lips.


  1. When Mike posted that her heart was in and beating, it literally took my breath away. What a miracle! What an amazing, amazing miracle! Kamryn has a wonderful work here to do. She's already teaching us so much. It's amazing what prayer does. What the Spirit of God, the comforter, does. Why you were at peace. We were praying for YOU, for your daughter. I kept thinking, "if *I* am this nervous, I can't imagine what Kelli is going through" and then I remembered back to when my dad was in his last days of life. What peace we felt in a time where there shouldn't be any. And I knew that that same measure of peace, if not much, much more, was being sent to you by a loving God. We might not be members of the same faith, but I'm sure we pray to the same God and are comforted by the same Holy Ghost. I'm so grateful for your strength and your faith during this time. It's truly an example to those of us who are going through our own much MUCH smaller battles. I look at you and think, "if Kelli can make it through and be so faithful and grateful, I can get through this night with Abby without being a great big jerk". I love you to pieces. More than I can ever say. I'm so grateful for you and your wonderful family and all of the good you have done in our lives.

  2. Happy to be hearing this news. Will continue praying. Lexi sent me!