Titia, Nicole, and I came up last night and stayed at a Hampton Inn just outside Cleveland. It was amazing because total strangers continued to show support to our family. Titia went to get Nicole a drink and a total stranger offered to pay for Nicole because he had apparently seen the story on TV. Just amazing.
We woke up at 4:30am to get ready. Nicole woke up pretty easily and even seemed a bit excited about her big day. We left the hotel around 5:30am and made the short trip to Rainbow Babies and Children Hospital across town. We checked in at 6am.
Wendy, her family, and her pastor arrived at the waiting room shortly after we did and after a bit of a reunion things settled in. Fox8 and the Mansfield News Journal came as well and then things got a bit more exciting. The Killian's pastor was kind enough to gather us all together and pray for Wendy and Nicole. It was comforting to bring the surgery before the Lord.
We only had a short wait and both Nicole and Wendy were called back for surgery prep. It was amazing because both Nicole and Wendy were in the same room. Side by side. How appropriate. Wendy has stood by the side of Nicole since the entire process began. She is an amazing and humble lady. We are so, so grateful and I know that Nicole will be as well once she understands. I didn't realize what a comfort Wendy was to Nicole until Wendy was wheeled back for surgery at 7:40am. Nicole asked at least 5 times where Wendy was and she stated very clearly that she wished Wendy was still with her. I believe that a beautiful bond has been built between Wendy and Nicole. Nicole may not fully comprehend all that is going on but she does know that Wendy is giving her a kidney and that it is a big deal. Here is a picture that pretty much sums up the experience of having Nicole and Wendy in prep together. Beautiful and Amazing!!!
From 7:40am until around 9:15am Nicole kept herself busy by coloring, watching a video, and talking with us. We also spent some time talking to her younger siblings, Katelynn and Caleb, via FaceTime. They are staying with the Reel's and Tammy was more than happy to chat with us. That was a great comfort to Nicole. Nicole handled everything very well and was in good spirits until she was wheeled back. When they told her it was time, fear came on her face. She reached out her hand towards us as she wiped the tears from her eyes. My eyes filled with tears. It is an amazingly out-of-control feeling to watch your child being taken to surgery. It would be easy to say that her well-being is in the hands of a bunch of strangers, doctors, and hospital staff. The reality is that her well-being is in the hands of God, as it has been since the day she was conceived (and before she was born, really). Nothing is by chance and nothing is out-of-control. It just feels that way to me right now. Both Nicole and Wendy are in surgery as I write and I am sitting in the hospital cafeteria comforting myself with writing. I have found that writing is very therapeutic to me. I think sometimes just putting down what you are feeling helps. Expression, it is in the human heart to be certain.
Hopefully soon we will receive an update on how both Nicole and Wendy are doing. When I do, I will write. In the mean-time, I appreciate your thoughts and your prayers for both Nicole and Wendy.
By the way, the outpouring of love has continued as there are a number of people here at the hospital. Family and friends have graced us since the day Nicole was born and continue to stand by our side. Thanks to all of you.
For His Glory,