A few hours later, the cardiac anesthesia woke all of us up. It was the moment we had waited for so many months (and even years). Lauren briefly woke up. Instead of being afraid of their scrubs, she looked at me and asked, "My new, strong heart?" I gave her a big hug and a kiss before they gave her the first sleepy medicine. I know that we had family and friends all around the world praying for her that night and anxiously awaiting updates.
It was only a few hours before she was moving from the OR to a room in the CICU. The surgery went as well or better than hoped, and the surgeon said her new heart was absolutely perfect. We were amazed to hear that Lauren had already been extubated, just shortly after settling in on the CICU side of the floor.
Over the years, we have taken lots of pictures of Lauren in the hospital. This is my picture of hope -- hope for brighter days ahead.
Perhaps even more exciting is this picture that was taken just two days post-transplant. We joked that all along we had told Lauren that she would wait until God sent a new heart, have an operation, and then get stronger and go home. Apparently, we forgot to tell her that it was a big deal. Not knowing any better, Lauren bounced back amazingly quickly.
It was the start of many smiles and happy days to come. It's hard to believe that a year has passed so quickly. We are truly blessed!