The Story of a Little Heart

It’s 2 am. I can’t sleep. Too much clutter in my mind. Writing helps me to de-clutter. I usually write in my journal or write letters to my boys. I was re-reading some letters that I wrote to Adam in the first year of his life. Our sweet Adam is only 2 and already his life story is a miraculous one. As we are striving to spread awareness of congenital heart disease and support for CHD research (and with Adam’s 2nd heart surgery approaching in just a few days), I think that sharing Adam’s story with you might go a long way. And, although the feelings I’ve expressed through these letters are personal, I share them as a testimony that our Heavenly Father is real and that He loves us. That we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, and that through Him, we can do all things…

6/11/12

My Dear Adam,

I have been blessed with the sweetest of angels, and that angel is you. I thank my Heavenly Father daily that He sent you to me. So much has been asked of you already, my sweet baby, and I’m afraid it’s only the beginning. God sends his children to Earth to learn and to grow. We’re all faced with trials – some more difficult than others – but I promise you that He will always be there to succor you. Throughout your life you will experience much physical and emotional pain, and you will be asked to bear hardship and sorrow; however, the joy and happiness and love that you experience will be so much greater. We all have a purpose in life. Everyone has a story to write. I can’t wait to see who you become, little Adam. What great opportunities and happiness lie ahead for you. My little sweetheart, this is the beginning of your story…

Last night I went into labor. It wasn’t unusual for me to have contractions, but these were a bit stronger and more frequent. Around 6:30am, when Daddy leaned down to kiss me goodbye, I whispered to him, “Honey, I think I’m in labor.” Daddy told me he would meet me at the office. I got up, fixed your brothers some breakfast, took a shower and did some laundry. I also packed my bag, because after all, this just might be the day.

I got to the doctor’s office around 10:30am. It was determined that I was already about 7cm! I said, “Well, I guess I should probably head to the hospital then!” As we drove toward the hospital, my mind was racing. I had anticipated this day for 9 months. Admittedly, I was scared to meet you. I knew of your heart condition, but I didn’t know what to expect at your birth. Would you be sick? Would I get to hold you? Would you look like the baby I had envisioned in my daydreams? We arrived at the hospital around 11am, and Daddy and the nurses made me as comfortable as possible. I progressed quickly and before I knew it, I was wheeled to the O.R. and it was time to push.

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I love the last moments of labor and then, the delivery. There is a tangible excitement in the air. I reflect on my life as it is and consider how my life, in a few short moments, will be changed forever. I am about to become a mother again – a new little one to hold and to snuggle, to teach and to love. I can’t wait. The tiny person growing inside of me, with whom I have bonded and loved for nine months, is almost here. I can’t wait to meet you for the first time…

A few big pushes and at 1:14pm you were here – your tiny cry, music to my ears. Because of your heart, they whisked you away immediately, but I saw your beautiful face and then caught a glimpse of your back-end. Boy, was that a surprise since we were expecting a little girl! Haha! I grabbed your daddy’s arm and exclaimed, “Honey, I’m pretty sure I just saw boy parts!!” It didn’t register with him at first either and, puzzled, he said, “Yeah, I’m going to go check on that!” Daddy ran back into the room and he came back nodding – yep, it’s a boy. 🙂

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Although I’m sure it was only a few minutes, it seemed like ages before I got to hold you. It’s not quite possible to describe the feeling of holding your baby for the first time. I didn’t feel a twinge of disappointment that you weren’t a girl. For the first time in months I didn’t worry about your tiny heart. In that moment, there was just you and me. You were here, and you were so tiny and beautiful and perfect. I held you tenderly and your little gray eyes looked up at me, telling me that you chose me and that you already love me.

The following hours were so confusing, painful and excruciatingly long. The doctors couldn’t get an anal temperature taken from you and they thought that you had an imperforated anus or some other major intestinal issue, which is an emergency situation. I thought you would get stay in the hospital with me for a couple days before your surgery, but instead they had to shuttle you down to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital right away. They admitted you to the Miami Valley NICU until the ambulance arrived for you. Daddy, your brothers and I got to look at you through the windows of your little incubator. You slept peacefully and seemed comfortable, but all I wanted to do was hold you. I wanted to snuggle you and tell you that your tiny body was going to endure a lot in the coming weeks, but that it would all be okay. Just before the paramedics picked you up, we all got to hold you and smother you with our love. One last kiss and then you were off.

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Daddy pushed me in a wheelchair alongside your portable incubator toward the elevators. The paramedics assured me that they would take good care of you. I cried as the elevator doors closed and prayed to God that He would indeed send his angels to watch over you.

Love, Mommy

6/12/12

Sweet Adam,

Yesterday shortly after your birth, I found out that Grandpa, the very man that you were named after, would be having heart surgery too – a surprise to all of us. He is scheduled to have a quadruple bypass on the morning of Wednesday, the 13th.

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Mommy didn’t take much time to rest. I requested to be discharged early and left the hospital just about 24 hours after I had been admitted to deliver you. The first thing we did was to drive down to Cincinnati Children’s to visit you. We received great news that you had pooped a few hours before (the most celebrated bowel movement in history, haha!). The doctors concluded that you do not have any intestinal/bowel problems, which was obviously such a great relief. Our visit was short because we had to get to Indianapolis to see Grandpa. It pained me to leave you there, but the CICU nurses are so wonderful – I was comforted to know that you’d be well taken care of, and probably even spoiled by them. Praying tonight that you, Little Adam, continue to fight, and that your grandpa’s surgery goes well tomorrow.

Love, Mommy

6/14/12

Dear Adam,

It is the night before your surgery. I must say that my first glance at you this evening was a little shocking. Your tiny body is puffy all over, your skin is a little orange and your breathing is labored – all signs that your heart is failing. We met with the surgeon, Dr. Philips. He described the operation and explained the risks, including the mortality risks. They were all things that I didn’t particularly want to hear. I think I would rather be ignorant to these statistics. My head began spinning and it suddenly felt surreal that I would be sending my baby into such a complicated procedure. The surgery will last about 8 hours and the riskiest part will be the repair of your aortic valve. Your valve has four flaps, unlike a normal valve which has three flaps. Dr. Philips will try to sew two of the flaps together with the goal of leaving the aorta with only mild to moderate leakage. If it doesn’t work, then it will mean many more surgeries and likely a replacement valve.

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It’s difficult to put into words what I am feeling right now. As I held you in my arms this evening, I prayed fervently that it would not be the last time. I have faith that Heavenly Father will take care of you. I have faith that He is a God of miracles. At the same time, I can’t help but worry about you, my dear Adam. Can one have faith but worry at the same time? I suppose my most humble prayer is that I will have the faith to accept God’s will, whatever that might be. Goodnight, my little sweetie. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.

Love, Mommy

 

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