Benson and I wake up and head to Lexington to a new doctor we were being referred to for a high level ultrasound. The doctor had told us that we had nothing to worry about, that everything looked fine...they just wanted to double check since our little guy refused to let anyone in Campbellsville see all four chambers of his heart. Benson was worried (as usual) but I was confident that everything was fine; they were just milking my insurance...we would see our little boy, hear he was perfect and spend the rest of the day shopping. I had even planned a photography session that night, no big deal.
After getting to the doctor's office, we were surrounded by the most amazing medical staff. While waiting for the doctor to come in, we were put in a small, dimly lit room with one large painting on the far wall. It was a painting we had never seen before and as soon as we sat down, Benson stood up to take a closer look...It was of a doctor, sitting at his desk with a Bible laid over top of a medical record and Jesus standing behind him guiding him through an obviously difficult situation.
As we sat and talked about how awesome it was that our doctor had that picture in his office, I had little idea what that picture would mean to me by the end of the day. We were escorted back to an ultrasound room and were introduced to our doctor and the sweetest sonographer we had ever met. We laughed with them as our little boy bounced and turned on the screen. However, after several minutes...they began to get more serious, more focused on his little heart that beat right in front of us. I remember when the doctor said that something didn't look just right...I looked over at Benson as he covered his face with his hands. In that moment, I was scared.
Immediately, we were sent across the street to St. Joseph East to Claudine, a lady who specialized in echocardiograms on fetal hearts. Before walking over to the hospital, we went back and sat in the car and cried. At that point, we didn't know what to expect or what was going on. Would our baby live or die? Was this even fixable? We decided not to call our family until we knew more. Hand in hand, we walked to the hospital and filled out paperwork and sat for what seemed like days in a small waiting room. I remember begging, pleading with God in my mind...holding on to the hope that we would walk in and she would say that everything was fine, that she could see all four chambers and we could go home and go on with our lives.
Once we were back into the room, I laid down as Claudine gelled up my belly. I looked at the screen and saw this perfect little boy with two little feet and two little hands. As she took almost 100 pictures of his heart, I remember staring at the walls...I remember thinking about how just a few hours ago, the most important thing in my mind was how the colors in the nursery just HAD to coordinate perfectly with everything. How I spent hours in my mind envisioning what we would put on the shelves in his room, and how it was so important that I got a certain car seat and stroller. I remember obsessing over baby clothes and what he would and would not wear and spent hours researching what brand of diaper to buy. However, in that moment...laying on that table, holding my husband's hand...staring at a blank wall...I became a mother.
I realized that it didn't matter how many outfits my baby had in his closet, or if his bedding was the same shade of green as the walls. It didn't matter if my diaper bag had his name on it or if I got the right kind of bathtub...all that mattered was that little heart that flickered on that screen. The only thing that was important to me was that he was going to be okay. That day, my life stopped being about me and started being about my little baby boy. I knew that no matter what it took that Benson and I would do everything we could to make sure he was healthy and happy...even if that meant giving up our own lives to save his.
After the echocardiogram, we went back to the doctor's office and back into the room with the painting. Our doctor came in immediately and sat down with us and for the first time we heard the words "Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome." He explained that our son's heart didn't fully develop and that he wasn't sure he could see a left ventricle. We would need more ultrasounds, more tests, cardiologist appointments and possibly open heart surgeries after he was born. He told us not to get on the internet and to wait until we met with a pediatric cardiologist in Louisville the next day to ask questions. I remember the sonographer hugging me and telling me to have faith and the doctor holding my hand and telling me that everything would be okay. They performed an amniocentesis on me before we left...something that I never imagined I would have to do...that made me start having false contractions and cramping. We got into the car and cried together...it was a long, painful drive home but we never let go of each other hands. That day, we became more than partners, friends or lovers...we became parents...and despite the pain and overwhelming uncertainty that we had to face, we fell more in love with each other and more in love with the Lord.
That day, our son...our lives became that "difficult case" we saw in the painting. More than ever, we found ourselves in need of the guidance and direction of God for our baby's healing. We began to rely solely upon the grace and peace of God for our every breath, casting every care, every worry upon Him. We began to pray that Christ would be glorified through our son and through our testimony...that in every situation, no matter how bad, we would choose to praise His holy name. We began to claim that no matter what diagnosis we received that our trust would remain only in the Lord and that He alone knew our son and his heart. Instead of labeling our baby with a "syndrome," we chose to believe that the Lord was not making a mistake with his heart, but rather making a miracle. Today, we still believe that He is making that miracle....and today, we are stronger in our faith because of the life our son has already begun to live before he is even born.