Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Power of Words

Today, I had the honor of meeting with a pediatric cardiologist at Duke who is highly involved with the fetal cardiology program there.  As you probably know, Ethan's heart defect was not diagnosed prenatally.  Recently I've had many conversations with many different people regarding that fact and today's meeting was the culmination of those.

To be quite honest, I walk a very fine line of being glad that Ethan's heart defect was not diagnosed while he was snug in my womb, yet fearing what could have happened if it hadn't been for that observant postpartum nurse.  Not once after Ethan's birth did I become resentful or bitter towards my OB, or towards the many doctors who didn't notice his defective heart.  We were told over and over again that Ethan's specific defects are difficult to find on ultrasound - which they are - and, when my baby was fighting for his life, I felt I had no choice but to accept that explanation and move towards mending what was broken.

But I still had questions.  I still wondered how it was missed and if there was anything I or my doctors should have - could have - done differently with my care.  I've often wondered about how those first few hours of Ethan's life, those moments when his heart began to fail him, have impacted him now - or if they have at all.  Mostly, though, I stood (still stand) firm in gratefulness as I thought about all those hours Jeramie and I were given to bond with him in our room, and the rapid manner in which Ethan began to receive care once it all hit the fan.  Because, there's no doubt about it - from the nurse who first noticed his blue lips, to the surgeon who labored over his open chest, to Dr. I who is second only to God in knowing the workings of my son's heart - Ethan has been one well-cared for boy.

Eventually, amidst the surgeries and appointments and therapies, those early questions were pushed to the back-burner and replaced with more time-sensitive ones - How much does he weigh today? Does his heart have an underlying rhythm? Is he developmentally on-track? We were so focused on the day-to-day medical questions that there seemed to be little room for wondering about what might have been.

However, after today, it is evident that my heart and mind had been hanging onto those questions for the past three and a half years.  And to hear the voice of an incredibly compassionate physician as he answered them all for me lifted a weight from my shoulders that I didn't even know existed.

As he walked me through the beginning of Ethan's life on "the outside", validating my emotions and reassuring my fears, I felt myself relax.  There was a healing power behind his words, emotionally speaking, and I found far greater understanding, medically speaking, about my boy's first few hours on this Earth.  Ten hours later, I am still in awe of how much I needed to have that conversation and how perfectly God ordained it.

The beginning of Ethan's story is not how Jeramie or I would have written it, given the chance, but God is continually bringing light out of darkness.  I'm excited about where today's conversation may lead and I pray I am honoring Him with these opportunities I'm given.  I told someone this morning that, as much as I should hate the hospital, I feel like I come alive when I'm there.  And, after today, the worries of the unknown have lost even more power.


1 comment:

Sherry Reese said...

I love stories about how God brings goodness out of darkness. Ethan is definitely an example of God's light. I am so glad you got some peace today.

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