Five years ago today, I was life-flighted during a hail storm from my local hospital to the nearest hospital with a neo-natal unit. It sounds totally dramatic and I suppose it was, but I was so drugged up, I remember very little of it. My sister-in-law can tell you the details. She got to fly in the co-pilot’s seat since the three nurses (dubbed “The Charlie’s Angels” by my sister-in-law) and I took up all the room in the back of the plane. It was a small plane.
It all started rather simply with a routine check-up the Friday before. It turned out that my blood pressure, which has never been high, was through the roof. I was ordered to stay on bedrest for the weekend and scheduled for a follow-up on Tuesday. I was almost thirty-two weeks pregnant with my twins and hoping to make it to thirty-six weeks.
My follow-up turned into an ultrasound, and then a hospital check-in, and then a flight to Boise. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and told that the only solution was delivery of the twins, then estimated to weigh a little over four pounds and close to three pounds, respectively. I felt so awful that I don’t even remember if I was scared. We were lucky. Two days later, we safely delivered two healthy but very small babies. Théa was four pounds, 10 ounces and Gus was two pounds, 14 ounces. They stayed in the NICU for six weeks so that they could grow a bit and learn to eat. Again, we were very lucky and we were able to take home two healthy babies.
I try not to talk about un-happy things in this space but I’m all for real life. There are a surprising number of families who are not as lucky as we are. But there is some happy to be found here. Kelly of Cloudy Day Grey is trying to do something positive about some very difficult situations for a lot of people. Kelly’s daughter, Matilda, needed a life-saving liver transplant at six weeks old. Six weeks old. Kelly was blessed that Matilda was given a chance at life and Kelly is doing something to give back.
Through her Instagram campaign (#howidonatelife), Kelly is raising awareness about pediatric organ donation. There are 1,900 kids waiting for a transplant. Kelly is hoping to collect 1,900 photos, one for every child waiting for a transplant, that represent the gifts we give every day. We all have the ability to donate life. It can be as simple as donating extra food at the food bank or as complicated as completing an organ donation form at the DMV. We can volunteer, we can photograph, we can we can take time to let our children know how grateful we are that they are here with us.
I really struggled to come up with how I donate life. It seems like such a big thing. What do I possibly do that is even closely relates to what Kelly is trying to do? I can't think of a thing. But sometimes it is the small things. The things that cause a ripple. For me, I think I probably donate life through food. I make, I bake, I prepare, I plan because I love my kids and I want them to go out in the world and spread that love. Food is my love language. It isn't flashy and it isn't saving lives, but it is what I do.
We all donate life. I hope you will think a little bit about pediatric organ donation this week and support Kelly as she changes the world. Please add a photo to your Instagram feed showing how you donate life. Tag Kelly and use her hashtag - #howidonatelife. There are only a few more days to share your photo on Instagram as a part of Kelly's campaign, but you can always change the world.