Holidays were a rather difficult time for our family the first year. The girls were born in May so they were apart for their first; father’s day, 4th of July, daddy’s birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, mommy’s birthday, Valentine’s day and St. Patrick’s day. When you look at these holidays a lot of them are tiny and we got to see them of course for all of them but for most of these, we had one child at home and one still fighting for her life in the hospital.
The hardest holiday of course to get through was Christmas. Christmas is all about giving and seeing your child’s face light up when they come down those stairs on Christmas morning and see what Santa has brought. The first Christmas for us was rather difficult. Brooklynn was at home and getting to enjoy all those special memories (even though I know she doesn’t remember it) while Kendall was still struggling but getting better. Everyone always has a busy schedule on Christmas between opening gifts, dinner, and family get togethers and we are no exception to the rule. We of course woke up and opened gifts with Brooklynn as we normally would and then we had to do the hardest thing, we had to drop our daughter off at our parent’s house so that we could go see Kendall. Christmas is a time to spend with your family and it brings us all closer together and here we were separated from one of our daughters at all times.
We decorated Kendall’s room prior to Christmas just like we would at home. We put up Christmas cards we had received around her room and put pictures of all of us. We also got her a little tree and her first Christmas ornaments and we decorated her room with lights. We went all out because after all this was her Christmas too and we weren’t about to not celebrate with her. The hospital she was in was really great too. They had a Santa come around and take pictures with each of the kids so they wouldn’t miss out on sitting on Santa’s lap. They gave them some goodies and a Christmas card as well.
All of our family and friends had still bought gifts for Kendall as well so instead of taking the whole pile of gifts to her we took a certain few that we knew she could keep in the hospital with her. We let her open gifts just like we did with Brooklynn while we took pictures and sang her Christmas songs. We tried to make the experience as normal as possible minus being in a hospital room of course.
After everything was said and done I think Kendall had the best first Christmas she could have possibly had and my advice to anyone going through this is to just make it “normal.” There is no need to go above and beyond and make their hospital room a winter wonderland but make it cozy and fun, decorate with lights and get them a little tree and some ornaments to go on it. We had to stay strong for her because even though we wanted her home we knew she was fighting a much greater battle; coming home to us!