As a cardiologist mends her heart, mine will inversely crumble. I have heard, ‘First is the worst, second's the best,’ but unfortunately, that doesn’t apply here. Whichever interval your baby undergos surgery, they all suck.
Tomorrow we have a date with Randall Children’s Hospital. Although this operation has been long anticipated, I feel caught off-guard and unprepared. For Lottie, this will be a step towards a successful AV canal repair. What exactly does that look like for her?
To condense the extensive medical dissertation, there exists a PFO and a PDA. The ‘P’ stands for patent, as in, these two areas should have closed but failed. The PDA found in Lottie is impressively sized, not helping the already precarious situation regarding blood-flow. While we could do one multipurpose open-heart surgery to fix all defects simultaneously, we are opting for a catheter ablation, targeting only the PDA at this point. Our hope is to prolong our little girl's encounter with the ugly open-heart monster.
Here is an illustration to help expound. Charlotte's heart is drawn in black (with hypothetical green corrective markings) and the green diagram in the upper-left is that of a typically formed heart. The green, swirly, cork shape at the top, is a device the cardiologist will insert during this procedure. The Cath. lab process is but a precursor, yet no less difficult to undergo; even having experience.
What does this endeavor look like for me? Turns out, this routine is not like riding a bike where you gain confidence through repetition. Rather, each time feels like losing control and crashing that bike into gravel. Better change that to lava rock, because it really hurts. Your sweet baby in danger is no pea gravel kind of scuff; let that be the take-home message here.
This time, instead of my two year old son, my 8 lb daughter will be taken from my arms and carried down a hallway, past the same pair of double doors. Honestly, I hate those doors. I hate that hallway. My arms will be made empty and my stomach knotted, and well, I hate that too. Someone needs to start handing out a disclaimer reading, 'Parental side effects include: waves of nausea, eye-twitching, sleep deprivation, heaviness of chest, contracting throat, and liquefied knees.' That about sums up where I am at.
Vulnerably, I admit to my current state of brokenness. I am anxious to face what I know to be crippling. My impulse is to become reclusive, reluctant and mentally self-consumed. Confronting these emotions, I turn to prayer. This is not serene, poetic, Precious Moments figurine, kind of petitioning. I’m like a soccer player over here, barely walking on the field before flailing around, seemingly injured. ‘Crying out to the Lord’ is literal, and it is often done from a 'face flat on the floor with fists clenched,' position. It sounds something like this: 'Your will be done, but my personal vote is for quick, easy and no surprises.'
Unfortunately, ultimate healing will be via a journey of pain for all of us. Once we reach the end however, there will be a wholeness that did not exist before. He is a God of the hills and valleys and I am not alone. He is with us in all our suffering, all of our...heartache.