Thursday, June 2, 2011

heart reflections

Currently Miss Ollie Faith is getting ready for her heart surgery on June the 9th. I would consider it a personal favor if you would join me in praying for her.

I find myself so very anxious. Even though I know certainly that God will do His very best by her. I think I may be anxious for old, tiny Elise as much as Ollie.

Ollie has had a heart defect that was the first red flag to having Downs, when she was still in utero. They have know that this surgery would be necessary since she was only "half cooked". But she is growing like a weed and is deliciously pudgy and pink and deceptively healthy looking.

I had a couple of flashes of fear with Elise when she went in for her heart surgery. But when she went in, she was actively in Cardiac Failure. Her heart already had no place to go but down and the surgery could only be a good thing. We not only had no option, but it was visibly telling on her tiny body.

When Elise went in for her open heart surgery to repair her ASD, VSD, and Mitral Valve, she was a measly little 6 lbs. Barely. And at 3.5 months, that is not normal and not good. I had to pump breast milk, mix in preemie formula, and mix in some corn oil just for added calories so she maintain weight and wouldn't keep losing. Half the time, we had to wake her up and pour it down her throat with a medicine dropper. Nursing exhausted her. Her heart was working so hard just to keep her blood pumping she didn't have the energy to do anything. She would smile and snuggle, but she had to be woken up to do so. She would make little "murf"ing sounds of pleasure, but cooing was often hard for her. At 3 months she could not roll over because she didn't have the strength.

Her skin was waxen white. Her lips were the only pink in her face, and sometimes not even that.

She was so tiny and pale when I handed her to Dr. Manning at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. I sat wondering if the surgery would be too much for her tiny heart for 6 hours, 2 more than they expected. When they did the sonograms on her heart, even the day before in pre-op, her heart was so tiny that they could not see the extent of the heart walls that were missing. Rather than a few tiny holes that could be stitched shut, she required several patches of Dacron because the holes were so big, they could not be stitched.

But as Ethan said 3 days before the surgery, if God had told us before hand that he had a baby that he needed us to watch for a few months, we would have said yes. As I handed her to the surgeon, I offered her to the Surgeon as well, with open hands. And He gave her back. I remember all the dates when God has repeatedly given her back to us, and each and every one I treasure in my heart.

I pray for Ollie. I pray for miraculous healing. I pray for her physical strength. I pray for her spirit. I pray for her surgeon. I pray for the surgery assistants, nurses, doctors, and anesthetists. I pray for her family and friends as they wait during those long hours where they can do nothing but pray. I pray that they get to feel the gift of receiving their daughter healed. Restored to their arms, hearts, and lives.

It really is the most amazing feeling! Without wishing harm on anyone or their children, I hope you get to experience the weight and yet freedom of your heart when God restores something to you. It is utterly incomparable!

When we were brought back to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit when Elise was released from recovery, she was kicking and PINK. She had blooms in her cheeks that we had NEVER seen. A nurse told us in passing that she thought that if she was not restrained for her own good that she would hop up from the bed and run down the hall... It was hard seeing her with the incision. It was sad to see her with all the tubes. It was not ideal. But to see such a miraculous change in her strength and health made my heart feel like it would burst. I will never forget seeing the life in her eyes that first moment. So bright and joyful, like she could FEEL God's powerful healing rushing through her new heart... It was so beautiful.

As I have said before, sometimes I wonder if those who have experienced God on such a deep level are kept a part from us because we could not comprehend the magnitude of God's very SELF. Elise has had so very many brushes with God. He keeps his hand on her hair...she seems to be so hyper aware of the magic and joy of any given day...the very Life that makes ours worth living...I am thankful that she shares what they think we can handle...because it fills my heart to the very brim with joy...and I am free.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you :) I read this twice and cried both times! I absolutely can not wait to hear her healthy heart beating strongly in her chest. Just a few short days left!

    PS - St. Louis Children's just hired a second pediatric cardio-thoraxic surgeon & he's from Cincinatti Children's!