Tessa would have turned two on September 9th. Daily life without our little girl is challenging, but certain dates since her death are especially painful. Her death date itself, holidays, but mostly her birthday. Unfortunately I can’t reflect back with a lot of warm, fuzzy memories on the day of her birth. You see, the day that Tessa was born was traumatic. The labour itself was pretty routine. After birth however was a different story. Once they put her on my chest, I noticed that she didn’t sound ‘right’. The nurse agreed and they quickly took her back and tried to suction her again. That is when they whisked her away to the NICU and I was left all alone in the hospital room, wondering what was going on with my baby girl. Shortly after that a Code Pink was called, which I would later learn was a Paediatric cardiac arrest. Donny came back to the room shortly after to let me know what they had found so far. Tessa had a number of internal birth defects, the main one being a Tracheal Esophageal Fistual/Esophageal Atresia. This meant that her esophagus did not attach to her stomach. This meant that Tessa had a life threatening birth defect. Sick Kids were on their way. I had managed to get myself to the NICU to see my precious girl. By the time I saw her she was hooked up to IV’s and breathing tubes and I couldn’t hold her. I could only cry. I remember the Transfer Team from Sick Kids arriving. We met with them, wondering about next steps. The first thing they did was congratulate us on our beautiful baby girl. What?! What do you mean congratulations?? We felt like we had been run over by a transport truck. Who cared if she was beautiful? She was so sick! It was then that I began to learn about how special Sick Kids is and that despite everything that was wrong on the inside that Tessa WAS beautiful and WAS precious. From the moment that they took control of Tessa’s care – we were cared for too. The day from there was a blur. We made it to the hospital, and met with a steady stream of medical professionals. Each one congratulated us on such a beautiful baby. They told us that what Tessa had was rare, but that there were lots of other kids like her. They could fix her – and that they did. Tessa’s first surgery occurred when she was just over 24 hours old. Her second at 8 weeks old, her third at 10 months old and her final one was scheduled just after her first birthday, which she didn’t make it to. Over the course of almost a year, we spent 5 months at that hospital. We love it there. We love the doctors, the nurses, nurse practitioners and staff. There is so much hope there. We were so fortunate to be at such a wonderful institution. So, while I reflect back on my beautiful baby girl’s birthday, I will remember two things. I will remember it as the day that we were gifted with Tessa’s life, but I will also remember the care, compassion and hope that Sick Kids gave us that day. That is something you can’t forget.
Happy Birthday my love,