“She’ll never live to be born.” “You should terminate her.” “We’ll have to take her at 24 weeks and see what we can do.” “A c-section will be required at 36 weeks.” “She will be blue when she comes out and won’t cry.” “She will be born very small because all HLHS babies are.” “You’ll never get to hold her.”
These are the things you’re not supposed to hear when you’re excitedly expecting your second precious baby girl. It’s not supposed to go like that.
Well, meet our Annie!
She was born Thursday, April 10, at 4:28 am after 6 hours of natural, unmedicated child birth at exactly 39 weeks. She let us know she had arrived with the most delightful, ear-piercing wail. Her skin shone a healthy pink hue. She was 7lbs 6oz of round cheeks, wrinkly toes, and thick dark hair. The awaiting NICU team whisked her quickly from my doctor’s hands into the corner of the delivery room to start taking stats. Apgar at 1 minute was 8! Apgar at 5 minutes was 9!
And all the room knew that it wasn’t supposed to go like that.
Because she looked so good, I got the most wonderful treasure: after 9 long months of waiting and wondering, I finally got to hold her. My salty tears dripped onto her rosy cheeks as I kissed her and snuggled her and whispered softly to her of how long I’d waited for this moment and how my heart ached with love. I pressed my cheek to hers and thanked God for His perfect gift of my Annie.
But the moments were short and few. It was time to place her back into their hands. They assured us we’d see her again before she was transported to Children’s. The waiting moments were long and seemed many. But in about an hour she came back into our room. Not swaddled in a cozy newborn bassinet, but tangled in wires and monitors, strapped inside an enclosed isolette attended by a three-person uniformed med flight team. We didn’t sign paperwork asking that she be breastfed and bathed in our room. We signed papers that said we agreed to allow them to take whatever measures necessary to save her life.
A doctor friend who witnessed her departure sobbed to Matt, “It’s not supposed to go like that.”
Matt left me to go to Children’s, while I stayed behind to rest and recover. He sent sweet pictures of him giving Annie her pacifier and Annie clenching his strong hand with her tiny fingers, while Annie lay confined to her miniature hospital bed.
It’s not supposed to go like that.
It’s been wonderful to have our Annie finally here. But we’ve had many surprises. She’s done much better than the doctors were expecting for someone with her heart condition. And because of that, our cardiologist challenged us to give her the absolute best chance to continue improving. He, and other doctors here, encouraged us to transfer her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the hospital with the #1 surgeon known for performing the surgeries she needs. They began initiating the transfer by talking to their contacts at CHOP, and also looking at the head surgeon’s schedule. CHOP confirmed that Annie is a perfect candidate for their institution and they have no doubt about her surgery because it’s a surgery that the surgeons there perform pretty much daily. They think she should be good and healing in no time.
This morning we heard that CHOP would officially accept her. The surgeon has a opening in his schedule for Tuesday afternoon. So, tomorrow morning Annie will be transported to CHOP by jet. I’ll get to travel with her, and Matt is catching a commercial flight to Philadelphia. This is really great news! We know that her surgery, recovery, and hospital time will be shortened by being there.
But we know that our time as a detached family will be so long away from each other for most of it, away from Audrey for all of it, away from our support system of family and friends here in Little Rock who have literally been the hands and feet of Jesus to us throughout the pregnancy and very tangibly over the last few days.
They have proven to us that even though at times, we’ve tried to do it on our own and research on our own and survive it on our own: it’s not supposed to go like that. So, sweet friends, we love you and thank you for walking this with us. We desperately ask for your prayers as we travel tomorrow and Annie’s surgery is Tuesday. Again, this is not a journey we want to be on. But it’s one we know that God had planned before our time or Annie’s time began. So we rest in His continued proven faithfulness. We know that as we’ve watched Him be faithful before, He will surely be faithful this moment and the next and the next.
“Lord, I need Thee. Oh I need, Thee. Every hour I need, Thee.”