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The Unusual Thank You Letter I Had to Write After My Daughter's Surgery

It happens every time. Days of running on adrenaline, fear and worry… Too many Snickers than any one human should stuff down their hatch in 24 hours… The way my body physically aches while waiting to desperately hold her in my arms…

You would think by now, Pip’s fourth surgery, I would be better prepared to handle the stress and worry, know what to expect and — excuse my language — get my shite (since living in Ireland this is exclusively how I say this word now. Deal with it.) together.

But this time it was almost harder than the last simply because Pip is such a little person now. She could tell something was going on, wouldn’t let me put her down for a second without raising her arms up for me to hold her and kept nuzzling her neck deeply into mind.

mom kissing crying baby


This time I went just as crazy. Actually, if I’m being honest, maybe even a bit more so. Therefore I thought it would probably be a good idea to write a wee thank you letter to all those affected.

Dear World,

Thank you to my husband who knows me so well. He knows I’m totally opposite of those “I’m-too-stressed/sad/worried/etc.-to-eat-anything” gals. He knew bringing home a burrito the size of my upper arm the night before Pip’s surgery would be spot on –bad call, however, on the chipotle-burn-my-lips-off sauce. Please note that for her next surgery there, Chief.

Thank you to the Target lady who remained calm and kind even though I could tell you thought I was loco. Coming in 10 minutes before closing, panicking and then demanding to know why there was no warm onesies pajamas with feet anywhere in the store might have been a bit much — especially considering the entire store was stocked for summer. You didn’t know that all of a sudden I desperately felt like I needed to get Pip new pajamas for the hospital or that I cried all the way there and cried all the way back.

Thank you to the McDonald’s drive-thru dude who didn’t laugh when I had to make sure there was extra extra Big Mac sauce on the cheeseburger I absolutely needed after my cry and failed PJ mission at Target. Side note: Yes, I am a total binge-eater when stressed. I dare you to judge me.

Thank you to my carBig Girl, for once again letting me cry on your steering wheel, letting me howl like I needed to, knowing no one could hear me except you… I hope. And if that’s not the case, thank you to whomever heard me and chose to ignore me. Good call!

Thank you to the hundreds — sheesh, thousands — of people who took time to send me a message, comment or share a picture of Pip or send one up above to whomever you believe. Reading and seeing them before I went to “bed” (lie pointlessly while stalking/watching Pip sleep and begging God to keep her safe) really lifted me up and brought much needed strength.

Thank you to two strangers who have fallen in love with Pip and did something to show me how very sweet and kind the world can be, who took the time to make Pip a stunning cape and an adorable blanket for the hospital. It was above-and-beyond awesome.

baby with down syndrome crawling


Thank you to my wonderful, amazing boobs. Yep that’s right, I’m going there. Thank you for nursing Pip way back when, for getting her through heart failure and feeding tubes and for having that moment, the “last feed” at 3:30 am when it was just me and her.

Thank you to the lady at reception in the hospital at six-bloody-thirty in the morning for being cheerful and commenting on how cute Pip was. You even went as far as asking if you could give her a present and then gave her an adorable little bear. You don’t realize how that helped start a dreadful day, so thank you.

Thank you to the old man who pointed out that Pip only had one moccasin on in the waiting room and didn’t laugh out loud at the reason why. Getting her ready at 5 am in my mix of exhaustion and craziness, I needed her to wear a “lucky” outfit. So that of course meant two of my favorite shirts with the quotes, “Though she be but little she is fierce,” and, “All you need is Love.” Obviously, right? But then she also needed lucky star leggings and my absolute favorite moccasins but I could only find one. So with one we came.

baby with down syndrome sitting on the floor


Thank you to all the nurses who were extremely kind and fell in love with Pip like everyone does. Thank you for treating her gently and trusting my judgement in allowing me to put the drops in her eyes because her and I are use to me doing it. Thank you for caring and treating us like a momma and her babe and not just patients.

Thank you to the operating team who didn’t laugh when the anesthesiologist told me to talk or sing to Pip while they put her to sleep and all I could think to sing was bloody “Row Row Row Your Boat.” All I kept thinking was, “My God, you idiot, you couldn’t think of anything else, you gotta commit to this, the doc keeps telling you to keep singing so go for it, row that damn boat”.

Thank you to the nurse who held me while I had to catch my breath — kind of sob — after Pip was put out and I was led out of the operating room. And thank you to the stranger who caught me crying in a hallway and stopped to ask if I was OK.

mom holding baby in hospital


Thank you to the waiting room people. This time I wasn’t nearly as annoyed with everyone near me. This time I actually found comfort in other mommas’ scared smiles and small chit chat.

Thank you to whomever makes my favorite stress reliever, Snickers. The fact that before 8 am I was eating one, two, three — okay the number doesn’t matter but you get the point — you help me.

mom eating a snickers


Thank you over and over and over again to Pip’s eye doctor. She’s shown such professionalism, care and kindness Pip’s entire little life. I can’t imagine doing all that we have with Pip’s eyes without this woman.

Thank you to whomever designed the hospital so that the recovery room is a quick trot away. This being Pip’s 3rd surgery there, when they told me I could go see her I bolted and made myself at home. Having her back in my arms is a feeling like nothing else and one I truly can’t find words to describe. Or maybe it’s one I actually don’t want to try to describe. It’s such a sacred moment of sorts and the thoughts and gratefulness going through my head are kinda better left in my heart instead of in words.

mom holding baby before surgery


Thank you to God/Fate/Whomever for keeping my darling girl safe. One thing I’ve learned in all of this is learning to let go and let be. I have absolutely no control over things on surgery day and believing in something greater than me, the doctors or the procedure has helped. Believing that Pip is here for a reason and her time on earth is planned out as it should be kinda helps.

baby sleeping after surgery


And thank you of course to Pip for being the fighter you are, for showing me daily what strength means, what hope feels like and what it means to live life with such a purpose. With each surgery I am in awe of you and the people you are inspiring.


So another one under our belt and until the next one, big thanks, World, for all you did to keep me together.

smiling baby in crib

Love, T

P.S.  Just a few hours later, Pip was her funny little self again:

This post originally appeared on the Happy Soul Project.