Crrreeeaaak - squeek . . . crrreeeaaak - squeek . . . crrreeeaaak - squeek . . .
The rhythmic song of the rocker sounded out of place in the glaring stillness of the hospital room. Decision time . . . Decision time . . . Decision time . . . ran the counter-note through Katie’s mind. Restless, she stopped rocking and began pacing the short span of the room. The inner reel of her mind spooled through the all too familiar sequence of film once more. ‘What irony’. She shook her head as if to dislodge the strange paradox of her infant’s life. ‘I would never have believed it possible to carry one in the womb that would court death in being born.’ Though she had known the risk a few months after she had conceived, she was determined to carry to term.
Standing beside her daughter’s bed, she watched her new born infant slumbering, peacefully unaware of the turmoil that kept her mother from her sleep. Katie studied the complex quantity of attachments; monitors and drips that kept her baby’s medical care fine tuned. Along with an abundance of love and a multitude of prayers, lifted up by all who knew the family, the tiny body had maintained an extraordinary stability during the past two weeks. Still, a decision had to be made within hours, for the sands of her life glass were quickly running out.
To go ahead with the invasive procedure or not, that was the thorny question. There were no guarantees either way. What were they to use as their guide? As if on cue, the sound of the opening door alerted Katie to her partner’s return. He slipped quietly into the room and handed Katie a steaming cup of fragrant chamomile tea. She held the warming brew in her hands and inhaled deeply. Her eyes met Allen’s. They mirrored Katie’s question.
“I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this.” Katie’s deep sigh gave voice to the immense weight of responsibility she felt.
Allen shrugged lightly. “Katie, ultimately the outcome is not ours to choose. To do nothing . . .” He splayed one hand in a helpless gesture. “The question is whether or not we want to take a chance on gaining a little more time.”
“Katie . . .” The rest of the thought was lost in the sudden vibration of the pager at his waist.
Allen dialed the number, flashing across the pager screen, with a shaking hand. It could only mean one thing. Allen listened to the voice on the other end intently. Hanging up the phone, he turned to Katie. A mixture of emotions passed across his face. “That was the transplant team. They are on their way.” The wait was over. There was no decision to be made.
The keyed up parents knew they should rest while their little one was in surgery. They had already called their family and friends. It would be hours before they would see their daughter again. The procedure was a delicate one, and on one so small required the most skilled hands. All that was left to do was to prayfully wait. Yet with the news of the transplant miraculously made possible, the adrenaline flowed nonstop.
Katie ran her fingers along the calendar, recounting the long days of waiting. She gave a slight gasp of surprise and her heart began pounding. “Allen, do you know what day it is?”
Allen stepped in behind her and followed her trembling finger. He shook his head in momentary disbelief. His voice registered awe, “Valentine’s Day.”
Katie turned to him. They sought each other’s eyes. This could not be mere coincidence.
“Do you think it is a sign?” Katie’s face glowed with hope.
“I pray it is. It is so perfectly orchestrated.” He gave a shaky little laugh and added in wonderment, “Our baby is receiving her new heart on Valentine’s Day.”
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