August 3, 2016

A Heart Mom

My friend Annie has written a book chronicling her journey with her daughter’s congenital heart defect.  They were living in Iceland as missionaries when they experienced the twenty-week ultrasound that changed their lives.  Forced to move and find a new job, their family was thrust into a world of uncertainty and confusion.  Five months later, their daughter was born with half of a heart, even though many people had prayed for complete healing. Annie’s world was rocked with questions about God. Had He really heard? Was He really good? The following is a poem she wrote documenting some of her journey:

I am a heart mom.

I have felt, at a twenty-week ultrasound, floorboards cracking and giving way under my jumping, celebrating feet as the words Congratulations, it’s a girl were chased away all too quickly with There is something wrong with your baby’s heart.

I know the torment of wondering, wrestling, and combating a viscous voice that whispers, This is all your fault…

I know the pain of weeping in my husband’s arms after a baby shower, unsure if my baby would ever wear her new, pink clothes.

I am a heart mom.

I know the fear of labor pains in a cold room, deep groanings of the unknown drawing near.

I have given birth for an audience of more doctors, nurses, residents and fellows than I could count.

I have watched my baby–still wet and fresh–plucked from my arms and ushered to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she would be sustained.

I have sat in a NICU with brittle, four-pound lives, warm under heat lamps like delicate plants, praying over my baby.

I have guarded my heart, afraid to love something I wasn’t so sure I could keep.

I am a heart mom.

I have held a baby with cords and wires and A-lines and tubes and all the while held my breath and my heart so it wouldn’t scrape.

I have said goodbye to a daughter I just met so she could be delivered to a surgeon…in an attempt to make it whole.

I have endured waiting rooms painted white like faces bleached with fear.

A stomach so nervous it feels poisonous.

The shaking. The waiting. The surgery you can’t be there to control.

I am a heart mom.

I have felt the hand of a little life grab my finger and hold it…asking silently for me to lead her.

I have spent days that turn into nights on the seventh floor, all around me the Intensive Care Unit beeping and humming and pumping and upholding.

I have heard those sounds in my dreams.

I have sat in numb confusion while my baby lived…and the baby on the other side of the curtain didn’t.

I have questioned God and His goodness.

I have brought a baby home–so vulnerable and trusting–with a pulse-ox machine never far and CPR notes within arm’s reach.

I have sanitized people head to toe before letting them enter my home, missed Christmas parties, dinner parties, and birthday parties in fear of the germs in attendance.

I have nurtured a bruised baby with scars in vulnerable places.

I have awoken in the middle of the night to the frantic words, “I’m taking her to the Emergency Room.”

I have watched her heal and witnessed the miracle of recovery.

I have fed her her first bites of food.

Watched her take her first steps.

Say her first words.

I have leaned hard on God and He has proven Himself sturdy.

I have seen His grace.

I have tasted His love.

I am a heart mom.

And my world will never be the same.

To read the whole story of Annie’s journey as a heart mom or share it with someone you know facing a difficult diagnosis, check out her new book HERE