Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Five Years

Every couple of years Margot has a check up to make sure that her quirky heart isn't getting any quirkier...so far, so good!

Margot met Dr. Maharajh for the first time since her surgery at our last appointment. This man fixed her tiny heart. He changed our family's history. We kind of love him. Tara Giralomo is the nurse who took such good care of us for the whole journey.

Margot loves her cardiologist, Dr. Gardin. She thinks she's kind of fancy.

Victory Jump on the fifth anniversary of her surgery.

When I wrote this post, one year after Margot's heart surgery, I was still rather raw from the whole experience. I looked at the photos with a clinical eye, and wrote about it as if I was telling a story about someone else. Life carried on so quickly and busily that I rarely looked back. If I came across photos from the months leading up to her surgery, when she was so frail and thin, I barely glanced at them before tucking them in behind other photos that were easier to look at.

It occurred to me recently that I still haven't made a photo album of her first year.

But each time we visit CHEO, I ward off that vestigial anxiety that parents who have had a child in the hospital know. I avoid the eyes of the other parents in the cardiology waiting room, because our story ended so happily. Maybe theirs will too, but maybe they don't know that yet. We didn't know what the future would hold for our baby when we first joined the cardiology club.

Back then, I didn't know if Margot would live to turn five. I wondered if she'd get to Kindergarten, and if she did, would she be delicate? Would she be able to keep up with her friends or would she, like Beth in Little Women, stay behind while everyone went on with their lives?

Yesterday we went on our class trip. Margot is in my class, and was most excited about riding on a big yellow bus with no seat belt! for the very first time. Her backpack was packed with a towel, sunscreen, swimsuit, water shoes, and some snacks. She was nervous when we were in the cave, but perked up when a classmate took her hand. She giggled and ran ahead through a tunnel of sumacs, her hair a halo of fuzz around her freckled face, following the gravel path back to the parking lot.

As we were leaving, I glanced at my watch and noticed the date:
June 23.

That date lit up in my mind when I realised that it was the five-year anniversary of her surgery.

And there she was, laughing with her friends, eating pizza, frolicking in the water, running over for a hug. My girl made it! She likes to show her friends her scar and tells the story about how her heart got fixed with a little patch and some thread.

This summer I will put together an album. I'll look at it with her someday and will say, "Hey, remember that time that we survived?"


This little girl is thriving.


  1. That's the same doctor who operated on my nephew when he was born with a fault valve. His first and second surgeries were fine, but his third caused him to go into systemic organ failure and we let him go when he was 6 months old. The doctor and the NICU staff at CHEO were fantastic, and they were extremely supportive as our entire family took over the NICU to say goodbye to Riley. (Incidentally, nothing could have been done to prevent what happened to Riley - he's just one of those kids for whom the surgery was not the perfect solution to the problem - part of that 2% who don't get to be part of the success rate)

    I'm glad Margot has such an awesome doctor to look out for her!

    1. I'm SO sorry for your family's loss! We did think about the two percent when we were told of the success rate...it's all such a mystery, isn't it? Children touch our hearts so deeply.

    2. It was a while ago :) He'd be about Margot's age now :) *hug*

  2. I'm so weepy now. I don't know what to say except HOORAY! That must have been so hard for you and Robin, I can't even imagine. I can't imagine what it would be like to give your baby over to someone else and trust that they will make things better. I read your one-year post today and the way you described, I could feel some of your fear. But your family is so strong and I'm so glad to watch you all celebrate five years later. xo

    Also, her surgeon? His face is so loving!

    1. He radiates competence, humility, and profound respect for the job he does. Amazing person! He volunteers his holiday time to do heart surgeries in Trinidad/Tobago (where he grew up). VOLUNTEERS to fix children's hearts. Amazing.

  3. Happy Five Years! What a wonderful milestone! Here's to the next five! xo

  4. There are no words from this loving nanny

  5. Just been and read your earlier post- that must have been a very hard time. So wonderful to see pictures of Margot now so strong and healthy looking.
    My youngest son will need heart surgery at some point in the future - we don't know when yet. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  6. Wonderful! I feel like that day is just as important as her birthday. I hope you had some cake! :)

  7. Happy Anniversary, what a great date to celebrate !~!


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