Sunday, March 24, 2013

Birthdays and Heart Days

This past Friday, I celebrated my 31st birthday.  I'm no more bothered about being "in my thirties" than I was this time last year, but I'll admit - turning thirty-one didn't feel quite as fabulous as thirty.  Instead of breakfast in bed, there was a banana in the car on the way to the cardiologist's office.  Instead of an Italian dinner, there was a kid's birthday party at a local bounce house.

On Friday afternoon, after leaving Ethan's cardiology appointment, I was talking to my "birthday twin", Amanda, who was celebrating her day by completing her weekly laundry chores.  We laughed about the irony of it all and she concluded, "I guess life doesn't stop just because it's our birthday."

She's so right.  I'm finding that, as an adult (who also happens to be a mom), birthday celebrations seem to come in new and different ways.  Elaborate gifts are replaced with hand-painted necklaces and incredible news about your child's health, and your birthday song is sung with a room-full of preschoolers.  I think there will always be a part of me that will reminisce about birthday celebrations of years past, but I'm learning to appreciate this new-found, sweet time of celebration.

So, about that cardiology appointment.

Earlier last week, I considered e-mailing Dr. I in jest to tell him that Friday was my birthday and only good news was allowed.  Little did I know just how much God had been literally working in Ethan's heart, and that good news was exactly what I would get.

Wonderful, lovely, incredible news, actually.

After checking all of Ethan's vitals, and Dr. I taking a quick listen, we crossed the hall for his echo.  We chatted with the echo tech the entire time, while Ethan contently watched an episode of Doc McStuffins.  The tech was able to get very clear images from all angles, and y'all know I was watching over her shoulder for the pressure gradient measurement!

Once she finished, I smiled as I lifted Ethan off the bed.  I knew what I saw, but I wanted to hear it from Dr. I.  He walked into our room a few moments later, smiling as well, and confirmed what I knew to be true.

God is still very much in the midst of healing and restoring my boy's heart.

At last check, in September of last year, the pressure gradient across the conduit was around 57 mmHG.  Not great, but not awful either.  On Friday, six months later, the pressure gradient had DECREASED to around 45 mmHG.

Decreased.  Gone down.

Continuing to go down? Only time will tell, and only God knows, but boy did we celebrate in that exam room! In the past four years, never ever has the pressure gradient GONE DOWN on its own without catheter or surgical intervention.  And in the past six months, we've done nothing to make that happen, with medicine or activity restriction or otherwise.  This is 100%, without a doubt, God's hand at continual work in Ethan's life. Oh, praise Him!

Along with the echo, everything else looked great too.  The pacemaker interrogation originally showed that the battery had about a year of "juice" left, but Dr. I was able to make some adjustments and push that out to 18 months.

So, with healthy vitals, miraculous echo results, and stellar pacemaker function, what's a doctor left to do?

Smile and say, "See you in six months."

Happy birthday to me.

"It's shaped like a heart because I love you, Mom."


Kelly said...

I hope you had a very wonderful and very happy birthday (and I hear you - they're just not the same celebrations they used to be pre-kid)! However, I can't think of a better gift than to hear, "see you in six!" So, so glad to hear that Ethan is doing so great! We will continue to route for him every step of the way!
Happy Birthday!

Carolina Carters said...

What an awesome post!!! Praise the LORD for the great news on that sweet boy's heart.

I'm so sorry that I missed your birthday!! I'm go glad it was a great day (and sorry I'm a bad friend)! Can't wait to see you soon!

Becca said...

hooray for good news! :-) and happy birthday!!

The Smith's said...

Glory to God in the highest!!!

Tara said...

I'm just getting caught up on reading, and I just couldn't help but say a teary-eyed AMEN and PRAISE God for this post! What a miracle!! Awesome news, and happy belated birthday too!

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