Friday, April 17, 2015

A Real-Live Pinocchio

Once upon a time, there was a puppet who was brought to life by a blue fairy. She informs him that he can become a "real boy" if he proves himself to be "brave, truthful, and unselfish". This puppet's name was Pinocchio. This is a FICTIONAL story.

Once upon a time, there was a "real boy" who came to life when he was given the gift of life twice. Upon birth, this little boy existed to be probed, stuck with needles, attached to tubes and machines, and basically given a death sentence (according to the doctors).  He was not expected to live. He didn't have a blue fairy to save him. But he DID have a Heavenly Father who created him, cared for him, who never left his side through all the trials, and who saved him even though he was not brave (he did not choose this) or unselfish (babies are selfish!). It was the grace of God that saved him. God gave him a "second birth", with the gift of a new kidney from his mom. That was the day this "real boy" actually came to life. That day was 30 years ago today. This is a TRUE story.

I have so many emotions when I look back at this day. And remember exactly just like it was yesterday. I remember seeing my son being wheeled away to the Operating Room, wondering if this really could be the answer. We had spent over 250 days in the hospital in Derek's first 16 months of life. He had over 9 operations. He was "expected" to die more times than I even care to count. Yet, here we were, being placed into adjoining operating rooms, where doctors would take my kidney and walk it into his operating room and place it into his little body. Doctors said as soon as the "connection was complete", he passed urine right there on the table before they even closed him up. My kidney was an almost perfect match for him!

I will never forget what it was like to see him for the first time after the operation. This would be the first time I had seen him since he was five months old where he wasn't attached to any machines. The last time I saw him, his skin had been a dull gray, lifeless color. His eyes were cloudy, dim. As I walked into his room, I saw him in the crib. He turned to look at me, and I saw red, rosy cheeks. And his eyes. His eyes  just sparkled. Like I had never seen them. He was alive! And from that point on, there was no turning back for Derek!

Derek has a zest for life like I've never seen. He lives his life with all the fervor and excitement like he knows what he had been missing. Life is to be lived, fully, and that's what Derek does. He proves that life is precious to everyone!

Happy anniversary to my sweet boy, my eternal toddler. Mommy loves you more than you could ever know. But not nearly as much as your Heavenly Father does. 

Going home, 10 days after transplant
Before transplant