2015 has been an epic year. Starbucks released the Holiday Spice Flat White for the first time and I fell more in love with a drink than I thought was possible.
But seriously, I've decided to dub this year the year of "Avery and The Aorta". My life was rocked at every turn during 2015 as we faced crisis after crisis. In case you forgot, on March 27, 2015 at 6:30pm, I gave birth to a medically fragile infant who was immediately whisked away from our small local hospital to a major children's hospital an hour and a half away. For the next 9 months, we would spend most of her life in and out of the hospital, recovering from surgeries... 7 of them, to be exact. In October, we discovered that my oldest son (and the picture of health) needed heart surgery for a previously undetected congenital heart defect and the next month we were driving 3 hours away to a major heart center for aorta resection and repair.
I am different now, very different from the 25 year old that waltzed into 2015. My physical appearance unmistakably shows the wear and tear of this year. The wrinkles around my eyes tell the stories of images I'll never forget. I've watched doctors and nurses scurry around two of my children while their heart rate, oxygen level, or blood pressure crashed wildly. I've watched my infant reach critical levels of illness and slip into a coma. I've watched her convulse over and over and I've rushed through the motions to bring her back whenever she stopped breathing. I know that there's a shade that children turn when they're fading away... A mix of blue and gray and white- the most horrific color and image I've ever seen. I wish I didn't know that. I've held my oldest child when he regained consciousness from surgery while he cried out that he had reached his final moments on the earth (he hadn't- thoracotomies are just REALLY painful). I've slept (or really, not slept) on hospital chairs more than I've slept in a bed. I've been up through so many nights administering meds, cleaning vomit and suctioning secretions, all while pumping breastmilk for Avery (which I'm convinced is a full-time job itself, am I right, moms?!) I would never want to repeat this year or relive any of its moments, but I'm glad to have come through it alive. My soul walks with a limp, but it's leaner, stronger and more determined than it has ever been. The superfluous fluff of life has been eliminated and I've begun to have a strict sensor for things and relationships that lack depth. I live with life and death every day and there is no room for excess or excuses. Simplicity, organization and order are key to survival. The last year has unearthed my real passions and abilities and I am unbelievably excited to begin exploring some of that potential in 2016. I'm looking forward to occasionally taking a little "me" time, to putting an emphasis on my health and to continuing to watch all my babies develop and learn, hopefully from the comfort of our HOME. We have more surgeries coming up (on January 11th, actually) and we are not out of the woods with Avery yet, but I'm confident that the best is yet to come. And really, isn't that the greatest source of comfort and hope as a Christian? With Jesus, the best is always yet to come.
I'm looking forward to getting to know you, 2016! Welcome!