Monday, April 9, 2012
A New Heart
Meredith at our wedding reception.
I was in the shower on Friday night, around 7:30 when AJ got the call that a heart was available for Meredith. At that point they had to still check her and the heart out to see if it definitely could work and at 9pm we got the call that April, AJ and Meredith's mom, signed all the necessary paperwork and the heart seemed like a good match. AJ went into Mass General to see her immediately after we got the call. This was the news we'd been waiting for for months.
But it didn't feel as exciting and joy filled as I thought it would. This meant that someone people loved very much just died a few hours before we got the call. It meant while as excited as we were about Meredith getting a new heart to start fresh it means another family will be starting fresh... without someone close to them. And I don't mean to be all sappy but I never thought I'd feel as sick about this situation and so sad for the family of the donor... chances are it was someone young whose heart was healthy enough to be donated.
We will obviously never meet this person who donated their heart but I want to say thank you for donating your organs and saving my sister in law's life. And to those people who haven't signed up to be an organ donor... please do. You have the power to save someone's life after you die.
On Saturday morning at 7am the new heart was sewn in. We went into the hospital around 11:30am and sat in the waiting room for a few hours hoping to see her. The doctor who installed her external heart (I'll call it that to avoid getting into the medical terms that I'm sure to butcher) came out and gave us a good report on the surgery. AJ and I decided to leave at that point because Drew was with my parents and had an awful cold. We were about 20 minutes out of the city when April called. The operating doctor came out and gave a report that the surgery didn't go as smoothly as he had hoped (seemingly very different from the first report we heart an hour before). There was a lot of bleeding and her blood pressure was dangerously low. They almost lost her on the operating table. We immediately turned the car around after hearing this news and drove straight back to the hospital. They said the next 12-24 hours were crucial.
And now, on Monday, obviously the 12-24 hours have passed. Meredith is still fighting. The doctors have been monitoring her closely and they've managed to reduce her blood pressure medication and do another surgery to stop some of the leaks in the new heart.
Anyway, I thought you'd like to read the latest. She has stabilized after the operation, although they've kept her chest open in case they need to get back in again and fix things. If anything, all this scariness happening on Easter Weekend has been teaching me about fresh starts and new beginnings... Jesus rose from the grave to give us HOPE and LIFE and to MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. And I know He has given Meredith a fresh start this weekend with a new heart, even if it is a rocky fresh start.
We covet your prayers. Our whole family is exhausted and overwhelmed.