I read an article a while ago that a person will make major changes with his/her life after a defining moment. In 2009, I was granted four weeks Annual Leave (British term for Vacation) from my employer in the UK. I wanted to be present in San Diego, CA for the birth of my first grandchild and to help my daughter and her partner after the birth. My daughter was induced on October 1, 2009, which on a selfish note made things incredibly easy when I had to book my flight. Within an hour of baby Jane’s arrival, I watched a nurse as she listened to Jane’s breathing and heartbeat. I could tell by the nurse’s facial expressions that something wasn’t right as she slowly moved the stethoscope around Jane’s tiny chest. After numerous days in a neonatal intensive care unit in two different hospitals and multiple tests, examinations, and consultations by various health care professionals, Jane was diagnosed with congenital heart defects. Nobody knew her little heart had so many problems until she was born. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to board a plane back to the UK at the end of October 2009. Jane’s first open heart surgery occurred when she was one month old. Her second open-heart surgery happened when she was seven months old. As she recovered in a hospital in San Diego, CA, I recovered at home in Birmingham, England, from major surgery, too, something that I knew was a strong possibility before Jane was even born. As soon as I healed I returned to work and submitted my resignation.
Today, Jane had a cardiology appointment. Her third, and last, open-heart surgery will most likely be scheduled for May or June 2013. It will be the first time I will be present for one of her surgeries. Because of Jane, I moved back to the US, jumped on the social media bandwagon (much to the surprise of many friends and family), wrote a novella, and started a private practice in occupational therapy. I’m incredibly grateful to be living stateside again. My heart is full. And all of this happened thanks to my Little Pumpkin, Jane.