The first week in the hospital when we learned just how serious this was and what it was going to take to get Spencer home, I thought through the next few months to come and knew that it was not unrealistic to assume that we would spend Christmas in the hospital. With Christmas still 11 weeks away it was an overwhelming thought.
I'm sure that it will come as no shock to anyone that this Christmas was very special for us. Our little Spencer-man had received his new heart just nine days previous and was doing SO well. The doctors were actually talking about a date to send us home. We had been blessed with such love and comfort from our Heavenly Father and the Christmas season just seemed to magnify that.
Primary Children's Medical Center is a beautiful place to be in December. Thanks to donations from the Festival of the Trees, there are beautiful, creative, fun Christmas trees throughout the building. One of Spencer's favorites was the Snoopy Tree downstairs near the front entrance. This is Spencer and me getting a closer look at the tree located around the corner from his room.
Every year we have a family Christmas party with Matt's mom, his brothers and their families. The cousins all draw names with each other and then exchange gifts at the party. This year Spencer was given the task of drawing all the names. Everyone was so great to accommodate us, making the drive to SLC so we could hold the party in the same conference room where we ate Thanksgiving dinner. Here is Spencer with the cousin exchange list.
Santa surprised us one afternoon shortly after Spencer's transplant. He asked if Spencer had been a good boy this year and also asked what Spencer would like for Christmas. "A nerf gun".
I went home and brought the girls to SLC on the 23rd. Some very kind neighbors had arranged for a hotel for us so that we could be together at Christmas. By this time we had moved off of the CICU and upstairs to a bigger, more private room. On Christmas Eve we spent the afternoon in Spencer's room doing some crafts...
...and decorating a gingerbread house.
We were SO grateful for the bigger room where we could just have fun together.
On Christmas morning, the girls and I made our way to the hospital, where Spencer and Matt had slept right through Santa's visit, to find that we had been very spoiled by Santa and family and some wonderful friends.
Pretty-Princess Claire has worn this dress nearly everyday since Christmas. It was picked out very specifically for her by Spencer.
Spencer opening his castle--which he later said was his favorite present.
This conference room was just becoming a little too familiar to us. We were SO thankful to the hospital though for letting us use it so many times.
Here are Corinne and Claire enjoying a lazy morning-after-Christmas in the hotel room.
The hotel staff was aware of our situation, so they decorated our room for us. The girls were amazed when we opened the door for the first time and saw snowflakes and a tree. There were also lights on the balcony, scented pine cones by the fireplace, Nat King Cole singing from a CD player, candy canes and cookies on the table, board games, coloring books and Christmas movies in the living room, and even cold cereal and milk for breakfast. I was so touched by their kindness. The days leading up to Christmas we were all sort of bummed at not being home and together for Christmas. The girls kept saying, "It just doesn't feel like Christmas this year." But walking into this hotel room was just magical for us as "the true spirit of Christmas" was displayed in full!
Here we are on the afternoon of the 26th after walking to the sky bridge together. It was really difficult to drive away that day, taking the girls home, after being together for three days straight.