Chance.

Tomorrow we plan on taking Iz and Evan to something called a Harvest Festival here in our parts.

It promises fresh farmers market produce, pumpkins and mums, face painting, food trucks (can I get a hellz yes??), bounce houses.

I want to fill tomorrow with good memories.  A day of fun.  A morning of laughter.  A morning with my best friend, best girl, and best boy.

I need to fill my time and my day with all those things…because all week long…I’ve been thinking about this day – October 13th – a day I will forever remember.

A year ago on October 13th, I was waiting in the waiting room of a perinatologist.  I was waiting to see why my unborn son’s heart rate was so low.

I sat in the waiting room.  My own heart pounding.  Waiting for my name to be called back.

I watched as Craig walked in the room, he was angry because I sent him to the wrong hospital.  He didn’t quite understand why I was on pins and needles…I mean…our last sonogram at the OB/GYN had been fine.

I watched as young mothers – like “16 and Pregnant” wannabes – sat with their families.  As they walked by, I could smell the cigarette smoke on them and caught glimpses of their smokes in their bags.

You wanna know what I thought, “This is such bull sh#t.  I am married with an amazing husband.  I’ve been taking good care of myself.  I eat well.  I’m not overweight.  I took prenatal vitamins 2 months before Craig and I started trying to get pregnant.  I deserve a healthy child…not those stupid, little girls who decided they wanted to have sex because they had Daddy issues, probably eat fast food, drink Cokes, probably smoke, and don’t give a rats a$$ about their bodies…or their baby.  They need the sick baby.  Not me.”

How’s that for honest?

We were called back.  I undressed in the bathroom.  The ultrasound tech gooed me up with jelly.

And then…this happened.

You can read about it here.  I’m not ready to type it out again.

Because, what I’m remembering today is what Dr. Crisan, the perinatologist said to me, after giving Craig and I the devastating news.

I looked at her, tears in my eyes, and asked her, “What am I going to do?”

She locked eyes with me.  Her Romanian accent heavy but her voice gentle.  “You need to have this baby.  Give him a chance.”

Did she know?

Could she sense I was thinking about termination? Something I could not believe I was even considering…  Could she feel my fears of, “There is no way I could have this baby with special needs – who’s going to need heart surgeries.  Who has face that is mauled with a cleft lip and palate. Who could possibly have a genetic defect that wouldn’t make him normal.  Who would make my life….my perfect life…incredibly imperfect.”

She didn’t know the severity of Evan’s heart at that point.  We were then referred to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas for a fetal ECHO to get the details.

I called my OB/GYN that day and told him the news. Panicked.  Hurt. Angry. Desperate.  I asked him,”What am I going to do? Could you help me find a place?”

A place.  He knew what I was talking about…I couldn’t utter the words.

He also said to me,”Wait.  Many times these situations turn out to be the biggest blessings.  Give him a chance.”

How dare they tell me what to do?  How dare they tell me to give this baby a chance? There’s no way his life could be fulfilling with all he’ll go through.

A year ago.

Those were my thoughts.  That was what was running through my head.

The fear.

The anger.

Today…a year later.

The thoughts of shame and guilt rip through my heart.

My perfect son.  The son that has changed our lives.  The little boy who has shown me what courage really means.  The little boy that has taught me more about faith, about hope, about love.  My son, who has brought me closer to God, who has shown me God’s goodness – has shown me God’s power by just his being.

I’m far from perfect – our lives far from perfection.  But, on that day, a year ago, my fears of what may be and what was to come completely clouded the possibility of the exact same prospect – of “what may be…and what was to come.”  As hard as the days leading up to his birth, right after his birth, to this very moment have been…I can confidently say…have been close to imperfect perfection.  Each moment encompassing every emotion on the spectrum from grief to joy.

Every moment since that day a year ago – I have learned to live. Truly appreciate life for it’s fragility.  Life for its strength.  Life for its truth – the truth that every second counts – every single one.

This week has been incredibly emotional for me.  My boy isn’t yet a year old, yet, I feel like we’ve lived lifetimes already in the past few months.

I am hopeful of the future he has.  I am hopeful that the chance we gave him will pay off in dividends.  I am hopeful for so much.  A hope I didn’t know existed a year ago.

I don’t know what our lives will look like a year from now.  I wasn’t sure what our lives would look like in a years time from that day we got the news, “Your child’s heart did not form correctly.  We aren’t sure if he’ll make it to your due date.”

All I do know is that I am thankful for doctors – who looked past science – and looked at the humanity of the child that I was carrying – and asked me to “give him a chance.”

I’m thankful for the husband that vehemently said, “No – it’s not an option. This is our son.”  A man grieving just like me, but prayed for me, for us, for our boy that we weren’t sure we’d ever get to meet.

I’m thankful for a God that I turned to in anger, shame, and fear and gave me clarity and hope…and forgiveness.

I’m thankful for a dear friend who lost her own baby with a rare heart defect and the courage she had to share every excruciating detail of her own personal journey.

I’m thankful for my everyday with my boy.  Every painful day.  Every moment of fear that suffocates me.  Every second of joy that I thought I was going to robbed of – from hearing his first cries, seeing him get past open heart surgeries, seeing him smile, seeing him suck a bottle, seeing his sister clutch his little foot as she prays with him at night – the ever present sounds of “Now I lay me down to sleep…” in her high pitched, toddler voice – ringing in my ears as one of the most beautiful sounds on this earth, from seeing the two men in my life “discuss” sports on the couch, hearing my boy breath, seeing my boy grow up – those little things – that I’ve said before – are most definitely the big things.

I don’t know what my life will look like a year from now…honestly…I don’t know what my life will look like days from now…our heart journey that can quickly turn on a dime.

But, I do know, that I am thankful for that day, a year ago, when I was told, “just give him a chance.”

So thankful I did.

 

 

Comments

  1. Janette Garza says:

    It is perfectly normal to think those thoughts, to feel those feelings. And anyone who judges you for your honesty has no idea what it feels like to have your hopes & dreams for your child ripped away in a matter of minutes by a sonogram. Your honesty is an inspiration and it amazes me each time I read your blog HOW MANY TIMES I have had those exact same thoughts. Thanks 🙂 Me & my heart warrior continue to include Evan in our prayers for our fellow heart warriors, always.

  2. Stef Laudick says:

    You are amazing. I just want you to know that the chance you gave your son will be forever remember. Thanks for sharing