It's hard to believe it's been one year..
One year since Ella got sick.
One year since they told me "Your baby (who was only eating formula and jarred baby food, mind you..) has Salmonella Poisoning."
One year since they sent us home after a long week in the hospital with slightly sunken eyes and an explanation of "She might be a little dehydrated" but "She should be okay."
One year since I rushed her back to the hospital a mere 16 hours later, asking my then-3 year old the whole way, "Is Ella still awake?" "Are her eyes open?" Is she breathing??"
One year since my Doctor walked in the exam room, took one look at her and exclaimed, "She looks awful!"
One year since said doctor took off running down the hallway carrying Ella in her car seat while I nervously waited in the lobby for my parents to come pick Charlie up.
One year since they told me my 9 month old daughter's kidneys were failing.
One year since she had an IO (basically a metal straw stabbed into her leg bone) after numerous failed attempts at an IV in her vein. And after that didn't work either, another IO drilled into her other leg bone to get her much-needed fluids.
One year since I sat in that helicopter, listening to the roaring engines and whirling blades above me, waiting to be transported to a larger hospital.
One year since we arrived at the larger hospital, only to find out Ella's tiny little 14 pound body was going into shock from all the stress and she started to show signs of multiple organ failure.
One year since my husband and I went to sleep on the pull out hospital bed in our PICU room, only to be awakened by the nurse and doctor the next morning grimly telling us to "Get up. Get yourself a cup of coffee. Whatever you have to do to wake up. We need to talk."
One year since the doctor told us the devastating news that we could keep doing what we were doing-pumping Ella full of fluids- but it wasn't working. Or try surgery to put a dialysis port in, knowing that wasn't guaranteed to work either and her body might not be strong enough to even survive the surgery.
One year since I held my baby girl for what I thought was certainly the last time.
One year since I fought back the thoughts trying to silently creep into my mind of wondering what songs we would play at her funeral.
One year since I kissed her sweet little cheek, amid the tubes and wires and monitors and watched them whisk her away to surgery.
One year since I waited numbly in the busy surgery center, curled up in a chair in the fetal position with Ella's pink blankie clutched tightly to my chest, my stomach in knots, threatening to lose its contents at any moment (while my husband munched absently on a stack on cookies beside me...)
One year since I thought my boys would never see their sister this side of Earth again.
One year since we were brought back in a private room when the surgery when finally over, expecting the worst possible news, wondering how I would react.. only to sit in disbelief and listen to the surgeon nonchalantly say, "Everything went good." (Those doctors really should learn to show some facial clues of 'everything went good' when they begin to walk you back to that room..)
One year since Ella's kidneys started to slowly function again.
One year since every single wire, tube, machine, monitor that had served such amazing purpose of keeping my daughter alive was removed one by one.
One year since we were overwhelmingly blessed by the complete love and care, thoughtfulness, and generosity of our family, friends, neighbors, and complete strangers.