February 23, 2011

One Year Ago Today

A year ago today, on February 23rd, 2010, we handed over our precious daughter Alexa to endure a nine hour open heart surgery.  The doctor described this hurdle in her life as trying to cross through the Grand Canyon.  It was a complex surgery, a risky surgery and a much needed surgery.  In the weeks and days leading up to the surgery many tears were shed.  And many many conversations with God exchanged.       

Our Warrior Princess ~ Rastelli Surgery ~ Feb. 23, 2010

Driving her to the hospital the day before surgery for all the preop testing was painful.  As she looked at me with her beautiful sweet eyes filled with pure trust, love and innocence, I couldn't help but feel like we were betraying her.  My heart silently shattered into a gazillion little pieces. 

Driving to the hospital ~ look at that sweet face!

On the morning of the surgery, we were at the hospital bright and early.  All the papers were signed, all the testing was done, all that was left was to get her in her hospital cap and gown and to hand her over.  We were greeted by the surgeon and anesthesiologist with warm smile and of them holding a hot cup of Joe in their hand.  We found out they had been up all night doing an emergency operation on another child.  My nerves were raised even further knowing they had not had a fulls night rest and yet my daughter's life lay in their hands.  The Child Life Specialist was there to give Alexa some fun toys to distract her from the hospital commotion.  She smiled but clung to me with a dreary apprehension of the events unfolding.  She knew something was up.  My husband and I tried to remain composed.  We took some last minute pictures.  We smiled on the outside but were truly slowly dieing on the inside.  They brought her over some 'happy medicine' to make her feel calm and cozy.  The anesthesiologist warned us that as soon as the medication started taking effect he would then quickly and swiftly take her away ~ no prolonged goodbye's would be possible.  After about 5-10 minutes we could see she was relaxing and had this big happy silly grin on her face.  Seeing her like this made us smile through our tears.  And so just like that, the anesthesiologist showed up, she was out of arms, out of her presence and protection.  Letting go was THE HARDEST THING we ever had to do.  The nurses rolled the curtain to give us some privacy and my husband and I just held each other and cried.

Right before surgery, can you tell she is worried ... poor baby girl. 

It was for sure and without a doubt the longest day of our life.  The hardest day of our life.  And this all happened one year ago today.  We are SO THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL to God, to Alexa, to her surgeon, doctors, nurses, our other children, family, friends and other heart families that helped us get over this great hurdle.  This Saturday, we will be hosting a Sweetheart Party in our home in honor of how far Alexa has come and in heartfelt appreciation to at least some of the family and friends that helped us through.  I'm excited to see how it all turn's out.  It will be a dessert party filled with yummy sweets for all the sweethearts that surround us!

One year later, February 23, 2011 ...

Alexa, today

jumping on the trampoline {her new favorite thing}

to her heart's content ... and mine!


  1. It is always bittersweet to look back on those surgeries. {{{HUG}}} Glad that Alexa is doing well!

  2. Dropping in from Evi's CaringBridge page. Sitting in my car wiping happy, relieved tears after reading this. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love the pictures - she is so adorable - what a cutie!! And what a great idea for a "Sweetheart party"! So glad Alexa is doing great!

  4. Hi,

    Alexa is beautiful and what a little warrior!
    My daughter Callie is 3yr. and has had 5 heart surgeries...just curious as to where your daughter's surgeries were performed?

    Congrats on your precious additional arriving soon:)


  5. What an amazing little girl (and family). Glad she is doing perfectly!

  6. Hi Sarah - Thanks for visiting! Alexa had her first surgery at Phoenix Childrens and second{and third for pacemaker} at University Medical Center in Tucson. Her surgeon moved there so we followed him for the last surgery. Sounds like Callie is a little warrior herself. Hope you get good news in her upcoming cath.


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