Not long after we woke up on the morning of April 6, the phone in our hospital room rang. It was early, 7:30 a.m. or so, and it had barely been 12 hours since Kyleigh had passed away. I was still very heavily drugged and did not know a lot of the details of what had happened the day before. Rodger answered the phone and I could tell it was not only someone that we did not know, but was someone with a lot of questions and needing answers. He talked for several minutes and then hung up. What he said to me next was something I didn’t have to think twice about … “There are two babies who need heart valves. Do we want to donate Kyleigh’s valves?”
My immediate response was, “How could we not?” There was no discussion, for we both felt the same. We could not stand the thought of another family going through what we were experiencing. We had to donate Kyleigh’s heart valves.
After more conversations and answering a lot of questions by phone, we gave the Midwest Transplant Network permission to harvest Kyleigh’s heart valves.
We learned today that the process of tissue donation is much different then organ donation. We do not know the results of Kyleigh’s tissue donation. All we know now is that they were able to harvest at least one heart valve. It could be several months before we know if her valves were actually usable and if there was a successful match. We pray that Kyleigh will be able to give the gift of life to another child.
Throughout the five days that I was in the hospital, I learned more about what happened to not only Kyleigh, but also to myself. One thing I learned is that Kyleigh and I both received blood. Everything imaginable was done to try to get Kyleigh to respond, even a blood transfusion. Nothing worked. Kyleigh was not meant to live here on Earth, only in Heaven. During my surgery, I received one unit of blood. It is a miracle that I did not need more, based on what was going on inside my body.
At some point in time, two or more people gave blood. Their blood was used to try to save Kyleigh’s life and to heal my body. I will never know who those people are. I am forever grateful and blessed by their selflessness.
I am an organ donor. It is marked on my driver’s license, but more importantly, my family knows my wishes.
I have never given blood. I don’t like needles and the sight of blood is not one I care to see. I think I can suck it up a few times a year to give someone else the gift of life. I will give blood and everytime I do, I will think of my sweet baby girl.
What will you do to give the gift of life?