But the problem is I already have. Not officially. Not in a spoken, defined way. But in the small ways of my thoughts and day-to-day living I have already forgotten. Forgotten what God has done in Annie’s life. Forgotten His faithfulness to us. I’ve gotten comfortable with Annie being ours.
But I was reminded today. I met a friend’s parents who had a sweet story to share with me. They had a tiny newborn babe in March of 1965. She was born just over 7 pounds, pink, crying, a full head of dark hair, and seemingly healthy. The proud parents took their daughter home to settle into the exciting newborn haze. When their daughter was one week old, everything changed. Her healthy pink skin turned to grayish blue. She was having trouble breathing. They rushed her back to the hospital.
She was admitted for testing and the doctors decided that something was wrong with her heart. The days unfolded and during an attempt at a lifesaving surgery, it was confirmed that, indeed, this baby girl’s heart only had two working chambers. Through tears that only a mother knows, she shared the horror that the doctors did all they could, but when the baby was 5 weeks and 2 days old she lost her fight against the congenital heart defect.
My heart broke with hers, seeing the stinging pain still seeping through her eyes 49 years later. She went on to describe the sweetness of those five weeks they got with their baby girl, telling of sitting bedside in the ICU waiting and praying. They were only able to hold her a few times because of her critical condition. While I cannot fully identify with her loss, those raw ICU moments are so fresh in our story. And talking with her teaches me that they alway will be.
The more we talked about Annie’s surgery and the surgery performed on their little girl, the more we agreed that she likely had what Annie has. It’s just that in 1965 the doctors weren’t sure how to diagnose it.
I know it’s no coincidence for either of us to have met on this day that my HLHS baby is 5 weeks 2 days old. Two families who have baby girls born seemingly healthy, just over 7 pounds with heads full of dark hair; both with only two working heart chambers; both with secrets in the mother’s eyes and hearts that shouldn’t be.
God always finds a way to connect people who can piece together His story. I’m thankful today for the courage I saw in this mother’s face and her transparency about her journey. Because today that is what I needed to remember that Annie shouldn’t be here. That the fear I live in over losing her is real, but also the comfort to see in someone’s real life that whatever the story of a baby’s heart ends up being is ultimately God’s story of His heart that He chooses for His purposes and His glory.
Thank you to heart moms everywhere for your continued inspiration in my life!