I have to say that this post has been a while in the making. And if I'm being honest, I didn't know if I would ever post anything about this. I feel and have felt hesitant for a few reasons. The last thing I would ever want to do is to use my child's health to garner attention. I could talk about my kids day in and day out in regards to light-hearted issues, but the opposite would never and will never be easy for me to do. Secondly, I do not want to be dramatic. What I am posting about is not the worst thing that could happen. There have been too many circumstances in the lives of those around me that have been tragic. This is not tragic. And I have been constantly reminded of this. And finally, in spite of blogging openly about being a mom and the hilarity that accompanies having kids, I am a private person. I hold so many things close to the chest. And this is one that I have held the dearest. I have had to accept and deal with our circumstance, and it has taken me a while. A lot of prayer. A lot of tears. A lot of soul-searching and a lot of trust has brought me to the point where I'm ready to share our story.
On February 5, I dropped the girls off at school and headed to Emmett's first doctor's appointment with our pediatrician. The appointment was going normally...Emmett looked great, until he listened to Emmett's heart. Our pediatrician looked at me and said very calmly, "I hear a murmur in his heart."
"What does that mean?" I asked. My own heart beginning to race.
"It means that he probably has a small hole in his heart. These usually close up on their own (in a few years) and it's nothing to worry about for now. He will need to have an ultrasound within the next week or so. As soon as I get the results I will give you a call."
Now here's the part where I pretended to be a duck. You know, calm on top of the water but you're paddling like hell underneath. Instead of my ears ringing and my head spinning with shock, I just listened and continued breathing and asked a few questions. After reassuring me several times that Emmett was not in any danger, we left with our ultrasound appointment scheduled.
The second I got to the car I began crying and called Jason. Shaken up himself, he called our pediatrician and asked more questions. Jason called me back and reassured me that everything was going to be okay. That Emmett was going to be okay. He also said that our doctor was expecting a phone call...it was obvious to him that I was upset. So much for being a duck. Jason and I decided to keep the news to ourselves; at least until we learned more after the ultrasound. Until we knew the severity of the murmur, we were not going to panic. Easier said than done.
On February 14, I took Emmett to Children's Hospital for his ultrasound. I was scared out of my mind. I just had this feeling that we were not going to get the news we were wanting. But I was still hopeful. Scared, but hopeful. Being that it was Valentine's Day (the irony was not lost on me), some of the patients at the hospital were in the lobby to celebrate the day. Looking around at all of the precious kids who had serious issues, I was reminded that Emmett's murmur (if it was in fact a due to a hole in his heart) was minor in comparison. I was going to walk out of the hospital with my child that day. And I kept reminding myself of that fact.
During the ultrasound, I continually pestered the poor technician for information. She assured me that after she did the test, she would take the results to the cardiologist. If there wasn't a serious issue, she would send us home and our pediatrician would call us with the results in a day or so. If there was an issue, the cardiologist would come in and talk to me. When the technician left to consult the cardiologist, I sat and waited, holding my precious baby. All I could think was, 'who is going to walk through that door? The cardiologist or the technician?' I don't think I've ever prayed harder than I did in the 10 minutes we waited. Throughout my prayers, I could feel them being answered. While I didn't think we were going to get the news that we wanted, I knew that God was going to take care of us and that everything would be okay.
As I knew, the cardiologist walked in. My heart sank. I was hoping it would be the technician telling us to go home with a wink and a nod, but it was the cardiologist. With serious news. We found out that Emmett has a VSD 4-5 mm in size. As the cardiologist explained, this was neither the smallest nor the largest hole she's seen in her career. It's moderate. She assured me that Emmett was not in any danger and that he would go on to live a very normal life. On the scale of all Congenital Heart Defects this is the most treatable and the most common. It is so common in fact, that 1 in 100 babies are born with VSDs. In terms of treatment, it often requires nothing. The hole closes up and it never causes any problems. For others, it causes problems in terms of growth and surgery is required to close the hole. But the good news is once the hole is closed, a normal life resumes.
So what does this mean for our sweet Emmett? For now, it means regular trips to the doctor to ensure that things are going normally for him, and it also means that we watch his eating habits at home. Thankfully for right now, his VSD is not causing any problems. If it does begin to present problems, he will more than likely need surgery. And our doctor thinks that due to the size of the hole, surgery is more likely than not. But at this point, we just don't know. We watch and we wait.
The best advice our pediatrician and cardiologist both gave us is to go on with life. Treat him normally. Treat him just as we would if nothing were wrong. And that is just what we have done. Life has gone on. And while we know it's there, we don't dwell on it. We are incredibly hopeful that a miracle will happen and that the hole will close on its own. And if it doesn't, we know that he will be in the best hands in terms of treatment and care. As crazy as it sounds, our life has been so blessed by everything that has happened. In so many ways we've never been happier. We have leaned on each other more and we are learning to live in the moment. We have no choice but to live in the moment. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Time with our children is not guaranteed. We have to be thankful for what we've been given. It doesn't mean that we haven't had moments of complete sadness and fearfulness, but God has been faithful. And in return, we are very, very thankful.
And since we have been advised to go on with life and treat Emmett normally, you can expect this blog to turn back to what it always is...me making fun of my kids. Emmett now included. I mean, if your mom can't make fun of you, who can? And hopefully one day, we will write a post about a miracle.
In the meantime, we will continue praying. We will continue hoping. And we will forever be thankful for our precious boy and his beautiful and precious heart.