We have been overwhelmed with love and support from our friends and family this week.
My friend Kate collected encouraging messages from people in our address book and made them into a beautiful album we can take with us to the hospital. I couldn't stop myself and read most of it already. It is so sweet and I love it! Many of you reading sent messages, so thank you for loving us!
On Thursday at our last life group meeting before we leave, my friend who works as a Child Life Specialist at the hospital brought us a cardiac prep book they use for kids having heart surgery. It follows the story of a little boy having heart surgery from the time he checks into the hospital until he is discharged. It has real pictures and is a great tool for preparing Drew. She also got him a special dinosaur pillowcase to use at the hospital and a dinosaur pillow in the shape of a heart to use as counter pressure on his incision when he needs to cough after surgery. AND she got us a donation from the Children's Heart Fund to go towards our expenses while we are gone.
Then, I got an email from Leslie, one of my Alpha Phi sorority sisters. She had contacted 15 other sisters, some of whom I have not seen or spoken with since graduation, and they all contributed towards a financial gift to help with our hotel for the first few nights. We are so thankful!
Today we had not planned on going to church, in order to keep both kids out of the nursery and away from germs. But, they had planned to show a slide show of Drew and pray for us before we leave, so we just went for the beginning and kept the kids with us. It was wonderful. Our life group and close friends came to the front of the church and prayed for our family. And they presented us with a gift basket full of treats for Dan and me, a backpack of quiet games, toys, activities and snacks for Drew, a bag of fun things for Ava to do, and a scrapbook of cards that the kids from church made for Drew. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful people surrounding us. Thank you.
Needless to say I was brought to tears more than once this week because of the kindness of other people. Even though we are preparing for a very hard situation and I know there will be difficult days ahead, I do feel calm, at peace, and safe. I attribute this to the power of God and to the amazing people in our lives who are covering us with love and prayers.
When we got home from church and put Ava to bed Dan and I sat down to tell Drew about surgery. I made him a calendar to help him understand when everything is going to happen and I started by showing him the calendar. I used stickers so that he can identify each day. Surprisingly, he didn't seem concerned at all. Even with the three trips to the hospital in the next five days. I asked him to explain the calendar to me and he did. Then we used the cardiac surgery prep book from Siri and went through the entire story. When there was something familiar, like the pulse ox and blood pressure cuffs, we pointed it out. We talked about the hospital bracelet, the special pajamas, the hospital bed, the IV, riding the bed into the operating room and of course all the things you can do at the hospital: play video games, watch movies, play with toys, read books, etc. He really took it well and seems to understand what is going to happen. He asked to read the book again, and we did, and that was that. I expect to be reading that book & some others, playing with his doctor kit and showing him pictures from when he was a baby a lot this week. I hope that he continues to be unconcerned and that we have a smooth week.