Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Year Heart-Aversary

When I sat down to start writing this post, it was almost exactly one year ago to the minute, that we got the word Kennedy was out of surgery and was doing great.  July 5, 2011 was by far the worst and most scary day of my life.  A day that I will never forget.  I woke up at 6:30 this morning, and realized that was exactly the same time that we were watching her be wheeled to the OR last year.  Probably the hardest part of that whole day.  Handing my baby over to a team of people and just praying that she would make it through the surgery as successfully as everyone expected her to.

Everyone told me that those days would become a distant memory.  And although I didn't believe them at the time, they were right.  But I will never forget the way I felt on that day, and in the days following, as we made our way through the recovery process.

Last year we spent July 4th in the children's hospital, completing all of the pre-op requirements and prepping for surgery the next morning.  I wrote this post as I sat staring out the window of the hospital, crying in fear.  Fireworks going on all around me, but I wasn't celebrating anything.  To me, it wasn't Kennedy's first Fourth of July, although we tried to make her as festive as possible before going to the hospital.

This year we spent July 4th at a hotel downtown.  We went swimming, ate good food, and took Kennedy to the park next door to the hotel to enjoy the fireworks.  We kept her up well beyond her bed time, and later than she even wanted to be up, but it was worth it.  She enjoyed every minute of the show, despite being pretty over tired by the end.  She stared up in the sky in amazement at the colors.  It was the best Fourth of July ever.  As I watched the fireworks and watched Kennedy's face, tears streamed from my eyes.  I cannot ever express the gratitude that I have for the surgeon and the medical team at All Children's who fixed Kennedy's heart and gave us the opportunity to make all the memories that we have over the past year, and the lifetime of memories ahead of us.  After we got back to the room, Kennedy fell asleep on my lap, having her milk.  I sat there, snuggling her for about an hour, watching more fireworks from all over the area.  July 4th will forever have a new meaning in my heart.

Looking back at the photos from last year, it's hard to believe how tiny she was.  And nothing could ever erase the memories of her after surgery.  But it's harder and harder to believe, looking at her now.

Blissfully unaware of what was about to happen.

Snuggles the night before surgery.

After surgery...July 5, 2011.

  
And what a difference a year makes, here are just a few (okay maybe several) photos from our 2012 July 4th Celebration!

Come on mom, I'm ready!

Waiting (forever) for lunch, and snacking on Cheerios!  (Which she later threw in the toilet.)

Enjoying a walk on the marina.

I love hotels, you knew that right?

Dinner?  Please?  What do you mean they can't find a Kids Menu?

Okay, a new friend will hold me over for now.

Hi peeps. 

There's so many people to wave at in this hotel.

Just hanging out....

Waiting (a very long time) for fireworks!

Giving daddy kisses!

 This is fun, but how much longer mom?

Don't worry dad...I've got this.

I'm a big girl.  I stand on park benches now.

They are fun for peekaboo too!

Where did all my peekaboo people go?

Daddy spin me around again!
 ]
 I'm so tired...but those are really pretty.

Wow...

It's truly amazing the difference that one year can make in a child's life.  My husband and I, along with our friends and families are so proud of how far Kennedy has come in the past year.  

Happy One Year Heart-Aversary baby girl! We love you more than anything.



9 comments:

  1. Wow, that is some difference. She is adorable. Sounds like you all celebrated in style!

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  2. Kennedy is amazing! Beautiful pics.

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  3. I love this. Looks like you had a great day this year. You have so much to celebrate!

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  4. Congrats to your family. We're nearing the one-year anniversary of our little one's heart surgery. I know everything going through your mind - then and now. And your daughter is so squeezably cute!

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  5. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

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  6. Alysia from BabyCenter(armstro3@msn.com)July 6, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Your post made me cry! I am so proud of how far she has come! It's incredible what are kids have been through and I am glad you reminded me today. Really, this is a beautiful post and I think the 4th of July will have new meaning for me now too. I will think of Kennedy:)

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  7. Wow! What a difference a year makes...

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  8. Happy Heart Day Kennedy!!
    What a difference a year makes

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  9. Hi there,

    You have a beautiful little girl! Reminds me of my daughter. I was searching for heart anniversary celebrations and came across your blog, thank you for sharing your family's journey.

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