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Coming Home: A baby’s journey for a new liver

Dedicated to a baby at a crossroads, with my love and gratitude.

I sat rocking her in the crook of my arm as the sun set outside the big hospital window, patting her back and singing whatever lullabies I could think of, making up words and tunes. Singing the old cowboy songs dad sung to me, my throat tightened with fear for this little child and her trials ahead. Her mother was taking a much needed rest after sleeping only a handful of hours that week, and it was all I could do to try and bring them both a little comfort and sleep.

At only 6 months, Gemma was small with bright yellow skin and eyes and a painfully distended belly. She labored to breath, and would barely sleep. Even so, she was strong, smiley and unbearably lovely. I couldn’t control the tears in my eyes as they threatened to spill over. I nuzzled her close and stood up, taking great care not to trip or pull on the utilitarian lines that snaked from the tall chirping machine (her constant robotic companion) across the cold, sterile floor into her fragile little body. The injustice of it was shocking.

Gemma would need all the nutrients and tenderness she could get to survive the next few months of waiting.     Continue reading Coming Home: A baby’s journey for a new liver