Today we are blessed to be transporting 6 month old Crystal, currently weighing in at only 8 lbs, from Dayton to Iowa City. Crystal was born prematurely with what is called “short gut syndrome”. She has already had 4 surgeries in her short life span thus far. She only has a very small part of her small intestines and this makes it very difficult for her to maintain weight and absorb necessary nutrients that her body needs. Having worked in the past with Dayton Children’s Hospital, they requested us to transport Crystal as her family is moving to Iowa.
We arrive at the hospital where she has spent her entire life and she is surrounded by staff who have been loving on her and her family for the last 6 months. It is evident how attached and full of emotion each one of them are in anticipation of this moment. As we enter the room there is little Crystal in her car seat all dressed in pink and ready to go. No one had told me how beautiful she was. Her bright blue eyes are the size of saucers and she is very alert as she looks around to take everything in. As I spoke to her, she forced her pacifier out of her mouth and gave me a smile that would melt anyones heart. All this precious little girl knows is love.
Crystal’s mom Cathy will accompany her on the flight today. Her father and 2 older siblings will be making the 10 hour trip by ground. She has a 10 year old brother and an 8 year old sister both with autism. These parent have their hands full and this is a big reason for their move. It will allow them to be closer to Cathy’s mom. She wants to be able to help her with the children and job opportunities seem to be better there for her husband.
Today is a big day for little Crystal this is her first day out of the hospital and her first ride on an airplane. Once on Nellie, our tiny little passenger continues to look curiously around as she turns her head not wanting to miss anything. She did absolutely amazing during her flight she dozed only for a short time and spent the rest happily smiling, along with continuing to melt my heart. I was a little worried about her ears and the altitude but she never cried, she truly seemed to enjoy it.
Cathy had been pretty quiet during the flight, really only answering when spoken to. Now as we walked through the halls side by side at the hospital in Iowa she gently reached over and touched my arm as tears began to well up in her eyes. She softly said, “thank you all so much for taking the time to come and get my baby.” She was so genuine it literally stopped me in my tracks, As I reached out to her we stood for what seemed like minutes as we hugged one another. I thanked her for allowing us to be a part of Crystal and her family’s life because in doing so it was they who were the blessing. I assured her that it was definitely our privilege.
We quickly caught up with the rest of the crew and as we passed the nurse’s station there were many new faces waiting to care and love on this family. They all marveled over our sweet little Crystal just as we had and could not wait to get their hands on her.