The past 48 hours has been the most intense emotional roller coaster ride of my life.
We knew our lives changed the moment I peed on a stick November 23 and received a blue + sign in return, but I don't think anything could have prepped us for this.
March 7. I was counting down to this day from the first visit to the doctor about the baby. It was the day we would receive our ultrasound and find out if we were having a boy or a girl. The moment the image of the baby's face flashed on the screen, I was in love in a whole new way. I could see everything about this miracle--the jawline, the spine, the eye sockets, nose, fingers and toes--and it all was perfect. The nurse struggled to find "the parts" because this baby is a FIRECRACKER! Oh my, the baby was all over, flipping and whaling its arms and legs all around, but finally we saw. "It's a girl" she said nonchalantly and continued rolling over my belly for the next image. Rod's face was priceless at this moment, "What?!?" he stammered shocked that the baby wasn't the boy he was expecting. I don't remember any emotion or thought except "she is so beautiful, so precious!" I, surely like every other mother seeing her child for the first time, doesn't want the moments lying there to end. We continued into an examination room and my doctor walked in more somber that usual. "We are concerned about your baby's heart. The nurse can't get a good picture of all four chambers". I went numb--how could this be? My baby is totally healthy, totally perfect little ball of energy--NO WAY could she have any little thing wrong with her. We left with a bittersweet halo anxious for the next day for a more in-depth ultrasound.
March 8. 8:30 we arrived at the hospital hopeful that the pictures from the day before were a product of the baby's spunk. Again, she was full of life, her little heartbeat was strong and everything about her was perfect. She put on another show, and our hearts grew more in love with her. As the doctor turned off the screen and handed us a strip of pictures she said, "Your baby has a cognitive heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome." My heart sank. I felt like I just had the wind knocked out of me--how could this be? is this really happening? Can this be really happening? With tears in my eyes and slipping down my face, I looked back at the doctor as she tried to explain to Rod and me what was happening and what our next steps were. We would have to go to Children's Hospital to have a heart echo. They will answer all the questions, blah,blah,blah. What other question is there than why is this happening? What will make it go away? Needless to say, we were happy to leave that room and allow the diagnosis to sink in.
Rod and I got in the car and wept. I never have known what sorrow is, but in that moment, I knew I had my first glimpse of the depth of emotional pain that comes from sorrowing. I was helpless. I couldn't give my daughter my heart, I couldn't reach into my womb and pump her heart up. There is no power food that is going to help her, there is no exercise I could do to better place her to grow there was nothing I could do. I called my mom and sobbed. Through her tears on the other end she chanted, "she's gonna make it Re. She's gonna make it! She is our miracle baby!" I knew those words to be true in my heart, and knowing someone was in our corner made the reality of the situation appear--she wasn't dead. She wasn't deformed. Her brain is on target. She was ornery as all get out and had a spunk you can't infuse into someone. Her little heart is, well, too little. But she is still my precious, beautiful, wonderful blessing. Her heart can be fixed, and her life can't be replicated. She is perfect. Perfectly mine.
The rest of the day seemed like an eternity as we called family and friends all wondering how the visit went. Every time we got on the phone with someone is was like tearing off a band-aid. It hurt. It stung. I went through every emotion imaginable, I was jealous of all the moms I know having healthy babies, I was annoyed that mine was chosen for this defect that effects only 4 out of every 10,000 births. But as the day lingered on and the tears began to dry up, I felt a peace. A peace that I know only God can give. I was laying in bed SOBBING, shaking, gasping for air and it hit me--GOD IS HERE. God is here in this moment. God is here in this child. God is here in these emotions. God is going to guide us through this journey. God has chosen our daughter, who we then named Vivian, God has chosen Rod and I, God has chosen our family to learn, live and love through this.
With this peace I sent out an email requesting prayers, and the response was breathtaking. We received emails and texts and calls and posts from friends and family of the prayers and love they had for us. At that moment, I realized Viv already had captured the hearts of all these people, and that her life is a joy and a blessing to the world already.
Last night before I put the day to rest, I received a text from a friend. It said, "I looked up the meaning of the name Vivian and it means 'alive'". Indeed it does. And alive, she very well is.