The pictures below are pictures I have trouble looking at. When I was going through it, I was able to put on my 'armor' and not see 'from an outsider's perspective' what was going on. Now, through photos, I can see the moments clearly for what they were. They would have been terrifying, without the prayers that surrounded us. These are Gabe's first moments. As you can tell by his color, he was quite jaundiced. Being on 'fake' food does that.
The photos above are before his transport to Seattle Children's Hospital.
The days that followed his arrival were scary. He was put on c-pap and then intubated on my first night that the Ronald McDonald House. We were told he was not going to make it. But I don't think that was in God's plan.
The top photo of these three is the first few medications Gabe was put on. After his surgery, there were two poles, both sides full of those medication administering drugs. Nick and I had a peace when Gabe was in our arms. Though we feared the worst, we hoped for the best. As love always does.
Gabe's liver was having a hard time processing everything. He got oranger than this after surgery for a while. But, he was fighting, healing, and preparing for surgery in these pics.
Sometimes it was too much. Sometimes, seeing him cry without noise (from intubation), not being able to do ANYTHING to help. It was too much. But... Seeing him smile. That makes it all worth it.
When we put him in his very first outfit (which I was beginning to think would be his only/last outfit)... He was miserable. His throat was hurting from being intubated so long and he was done. We felt done with it all too. But... We knew God had a plan. We were going to LET Gabe fight, for as long as he was willing to try.
And here is his first outfit. Every night I would go home and look at pictures of when Gabe was born. This would remind me of the baby 'behind' the tubes/wires/jaundice. The one that was eventually GOING to be okay. And he is. Sooo okay.
A few days before surgery, Gabe opened his eyes and looked at us for the first few times (since he was born). It was the greatest moment of our lives. It was hope. The last photo is the day before his surgery. He looked the best he had looked since intubation. His skin tone was good... He was ready. God prepared his little body.
You see how good he was looking? I could see 'Gabe' again. And he was ready for surgery.
We came back after surgery to this:
He was SO swollen, he looked like a toddler. It was scary. His chest was open (but covered with a dressing) I could LITERALLY see his heart beating in his chest. It was the greatest thing I had ever seen. It was hope.
He healed, slowly, but surely. His body took 16 days to let go of the fluid, but then when he did, they closed his chest and he finally began to heal. Those days blended together.
He is one month old in the above photo. Beautiful, charming. Alert. Worth it. so worth it.
Yes, it was scary. But in the end, he fought. We gave him the chance, and he did it.
I can't say that I will be ready for anything of the sort again, but I know that giving him the chance to fight is worth it to us. And to him. His smiles tell me.. it is definitely worth it.