Nerves had set in by the time we were finally able to go back and see Linden in the PICU. I remember after her very first surgery at 10 weeks old how swollen she was after getting out of the operating room... nearly unrecognizeable. We were preparing for the worst, but we're completely shocked to see Linden looking almost completely like herself — with a few extra tubes of course :) Although she wasn't swollen like we had anticiapated it was a shock to see just how many tubes they can put into and onto one small body. The bay of machines they used to keep her going looked like a scene out of star trek!

The evening stayed busy, with nurses and doctors hovering around her bed for the remainder of the night, treating a slight fever and getting her caught up on all of the meds she missed during her surgery. With the exception of the fever and some minor bleeding (which were both terrifying at first), all of her symptoms were very normal and she slept through the night like a champ. We were able to get some much needed rest and woke up the next morning refreshed and ready to face another day in the PICU.

On Friday the doctors were able to pull Linden's breathing tube out, practically days ahead of schedule. All of her vitals remained stable and the nurses and doctors spent their time managing her pain and chasing her blood and liver numbers with meds. We were able to see Linden smile for the first time since her transplant (at her DADDY!!!), and enjoyed her being awake and alert quite a few times during the day. We thought it would be a while before we were able to see even a glimpse of Linden's personality come back, but she has suprised us again with how aware she has been.

We were also happy to see more friends and family show up at the hospital on Friday morning. Melissa and Kari (Laura's sisters) have been here since Wednesday night, but they got their chance to see Lindy this morning before leaving and taking Graham with them to northern Ohio for a few days. Laura's parents have been here since Wednesday night (all night) as well and were able to spend the majority of their day with us and Linden, bringing us meals, shooting the breeze, and just being available to watch Linden so we could get a break. We also got to see Sharon, Ryan (Lauras twin) and Liam as well as Kyle and Sara, two of Jake's besties from back in the neighborhood days of Flushing, MI. We got to see Jake's mom, brother, and sis-in-law on Thursday evening, and are hoping to see them again at the hospital on Saturday. It's always good to see people you are close with during these long stays, if for nothing else to talk about something other than the hospital for a while. We are so thankful for our supportive families and our wonderful friends who have been nothing but encouraging and positive through this entire ordeal. Whether leaving in the middle of the night to meet us in Cinci, or taking off work to be available, eating a meal with us or adopting Graham for a week, we so appreciate all you do to keep us sane and smiling :) We love you all so much.

The rest of the day was uneventful, save the trip to Cinci Famous Steak and Lemonade and watching about ten different fireworks shows from our window on the fifth floor! Watching fireworks and sipping a cherry lemonade last night, I was reminded of Gods'grace on our family over the last few days. We are truly undeserving of all the good we have been given. I couldn't help but think of all of those whose children never left the operating room, or who didn't get a transplant in time, or who were never diagnosed, or that family that had to lose life in order for Linden to keep hers. While there have been tears shed over the last few days, I can say that the majority of those tears have been in amazement and greatfulness for the incredible turn of events that have landed us here.

The verse that comes to mind to describe our situation is Ephesians 3:20

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

We have truly been given more than we could have ever thought to ask for.

Jake Bennett