Our trip to Charleston this week was so special for many reasons. Not only did we receive the wonderful news that Lil' Bit on the way is heart healthy, but we also got to spend a few moments in the places in that hospital that were "home" to us for an extended period of time when our Evie girl was so sick. The sweet significance of being there as part of her "extended birthday celebration" exactly 3 years after she was an unstable patient there completely overwhelmed me. Evie helped me bake and decorate 9 dozen heart-shaped cookies to deliver to the Pediatric Cardiac Unit and the Step Down floor where she spent weeks recovering after her surgery.
I will forever remember her nurse Joy when Evie was going through a particularly rough spell. She told me of the heart-kids that would come skipping into PCICU two or three years after surgery to visit. That thought gave me such hope to think of returning some day with a healthy child to thank the doctors and nurses who God used to heal her. For these sacrificing folks, we are SO grateful!!
Regarding hearts, I have something else I am at last wanting to share with you friends. We have only disclosed this to our families and a few trusted friends, but it seems time again to ask you...our "extended" family of sorts, to dirty your knees on our behalf.
I myself was recently diagnosed with heart defect that was detected at a pretty advanced stage. My aortic root (where the aorta comes into the heart) is dilating and at risk of rupture. Any further growth could necessitate a surgical repair. I have been rather private until now because frankly, I have felt fine. And perhaps, pride has gotten in the way too. I don't like drama and feel like we have burdened others so much to pray for our Evie's healing, I didn't really want to publicly deal with another crisis. But, God has so graciously dealt with us through the obstacles we have faced over the past few years and we have no doubt that He has used the prayers as so many of you on our behalf. It would be prideful and selfish to not allow you to share with us whatever it is that He wants to do on this road that we now find ourselves. And so, I ask you to journey with us again....
Will you please pray?
The particular risk right now is that doctors are concerned that the increased blood volume during pregnancy will stress the already fragile part of my heart. We are in the midst of discussing the options and I am feeling very grieved by their preliminary plan to possibly take the baby prematurely. I have felt very peaceful about my heart condition and know that they are keeping a close eye and taking every precaution. However, fear has again reared its ugly head.......the thought of a preemie and leaving my baby in ICU again is more than I can bear. It makes me cringe to think of monitors and supplemental oxygen and feeding tubes. My mind wanders to not being able to hold and nurse and bond with my little Ella if she is not big enough and strong enough. We have done that before and it was a nightmare...I so want this birth and infancy to be different than the last! But God knows all this and I am SO glad that we at least have the opportunity to prepare ourselves this time for the possibilities. He who created her inmost beings (and mine) is not taken by surprised. He is not overwhelmed. His arm is not so short that he cannot heal, restore, comfort or console.
Much will be decided closer to the time when they see if my dilation progresses. We are prayerful that it will not and that doctors will feel comfortable letting me carry this baby to term. Thank you for beseeching the Lord with us and covering this wee babe in prayer. He has called her by name and laid on our hearts to choose, Gabriella ~ "God is my might". We are believing that for her already!