Well…first off…I’d like to start with an apology. As many of you know and understand…life has a funny way of getting the best of you and taking up so much of your time…that you lose the opportunity to keep your dearest family and friends updated with regard to all the happenings in your life. I am so deeply sorry that we have kept you in the dark with regard to our little Lily and these first few months of her amazing life. Kenz has been bugging me non-stop to update the blog, but I have been so busy with work…I have neglected the very people who have supported our family through thick and thin. The least we can do is keep you in the loop…so let me throw a huge lasso around you all and bring you back into the Allred family circle.
Let’s pick things up where I left off two months ago!!!
Early in the morning on June 30th, I joined my dad and my brothers Jason, Jeremy, and Sam in the NICU at Primary’s. We had the opportunity to give little Lily a blessing before the neurosurgery team closed the open defect in her spine. For those reading this who are not of our faith, a blessing is when worthy male members of my faith holding authority from God, in this case a few good men in my family, gently laid our hands on my little girls head to bless her and pray over her. The peace that overcame me from this experience could not be exaggerated. I knew in my heart through the Spirit of a loving God…that though her body may never function flawlessly, it would be receptive to a successful surgery, heal well, and be sufficient to provide her a long, happy, and productive life…full of the realization of goals far beyond our expectations. She was going to be ok…
This peace did not dull the difficulty I experienced as a father however…allowing my little angel out of my hands and into the hands of the surgical team. It was perhaps one of the most difficult and emotional moments of my life. Kenz could not be with me, as she was recovering from her own surgery, which is why I was so appreciative to my dad…who stayed with me until we received news that the surgery was a huge success and that our tough little Lily had literally “sailed” through the complicated procedure. We cannot thank the neurosurgery team enough for their stellar work. Usually, with a defect as big as the one Lily was born with, additional cutting and possibly even some tissue grafting would have been expected. Miraculously, they were able to pull the lesion closed without any additional cutting.
Seeing her for the first time after the procedure was amazing! She was still intubated and on the ventilator. But her vitals remained stable and she was kept comfortable and was able to rest peacefully for a few days. During that time, there was no shortage of visitors. Family and friends on both sides came to see our special little girl for the first time. It was SO wonderful to see family and friends and we finally felt the nerves and anxiety fade away leaving room only for excitement and celebration. She was finally here…and it was not her body that made her special…she was special to begin with…and her beautifully different little body just added to the magic she already possessed.
Primary Children’s Hospital is the most wonderful place on earth…that you never want to be. I thank God every day that there are men and women who dedicate their lives to the service of others. These doctors and nurses are living breathing angels with hearts so big and so focused on what is truly important…one cannot help but want to emulate their kindness and compassion every day. These people are the very best of the best.
Lily was allowed to come home after only 1 week in the NICU. It was a wonderful day! I remember being home...as Kenz was discharged before Lily…and going back and forth to Primary’s several times a day to see out little girl, feed her, and hold her. A week after she was born, Kenz and I were preparing to head back to the hospital after spending valuable and much needed time with our other kids at home…when the phone rang. Kenz answered…she looked puzzled…said “ok”…and hung up. She immediately looked at me and began crying. I was horrified!!! I thought something went horribly wrong and that we needed to rush back to the hospital…FYI ladies…when under the circumstances we were under…don’t cry right after you hang up on a call from the hospital your baby is in…it will take years off your husband’s life!!! But luckily, Kenz’ tears were tears of joy…I’ll never forget these words…with tears flowing freely…Kenz said, “that was the nurse…she said we should bring a car seat!” SHE WAS COMING HOME!!! We hugged and rushed out the door…several hours later…we were home…and our family was…for the first time…all under the same roof of the same home…the deepest desires of this father’s heart were realized…and all of the trivial things of the world didn’t matter any more…my family was together…forever.