In honor of Andrew's birthday, I was asked to write a letter to my former self for our heart support group page. Often over the years since I have become a "heart mom" I have felt like there are so many things I wish I had known back then, when Andrew was so fragile. If I could've looked into a crystal ball and seen the special young man he's become... I would've been so relieved. Those dark, scary times when we didn't know if he would survive... we had to rely on faith. And Andrew's story is another testimony to what God is capable of. Andrew is our miracle. God's hand in his life has been evident from the time we first heard his tiny heartbeat, to the thriving young man he has become today.
Here is my letter (I had a word limit, which was probably a good thing, but it was so difficult to put these feelings into 200 words or less!):
I can still see you. Curled into a ball, swallowed by darkness in your living room on a perfectly sunny and beautiful fall day. Shades drawn, heart broken, unable to form words. I can still feel the fear, ripping through your whole body as you shook with sobs that filled the quiet room. Sobs that continued into the darkest of night, with tears that flooded your pillow and never seemed to stop.
You had just arrived home from your 20 week ulstrasound and were told your precious baby, the one you prayed so hard for and thought would never come, would be born with a congenital heart defect. Tetrallogy of Fallot. “What does that even mean?” You thought, and asked the doctor to write it down for you so you could spend hours pouring over google as more fear crept in. Oh, I can still hear the thoughts running through your mind. Babies don’t have problems with their hearts! They can’t… do they?? You tried not to let the “why me” creep in, but deep down, the question was there. I am here to promise you that one day you will learn the answer to that question. And you will never ask it again.
I want to tell you that your son, Andrew, will be born. He will be premature, but he will be brought into this world with a tiny cry that will sound like the heavens singing. Your heart will burst with joy. You will never forget the sight of your precious son- all 3 lb 13oz of him. With his full head of dark hair and flailing monkey arms and legs. There will be no need for a camera. It will be etched into your mind forever.
I’m not gonna lie… those first couple years will be tough. Hang on, push through the fear. Allow yourself to think about the future. HIS future. Because it is bright. It will be here in the blink of an eye, and he will be ready to take on the world.
I want you to know that this life will one day not revolve around heart surgeries, hospital stays and ER visits. Weeks and months will go by with no thought of it at all. This amazing boy of yours is going to have a determination and spunk that will be the driving force behind all of his successes. He will NOT give up.
Andrew is going to grow, thrive, be smart, sensitive and empathetic. He will have a sense of humor that will make you laugh daily. He will graduate preschool and have a first day of Kindergarten.
He’ll lose his front teeth.
Be a big brother.
He will turn 10.
He’ll play baseball.
He’s going to get to do everything he wants to in life, and he’ll be proud of that scar. He’s going to be a normal kid. But everything about him will be extraordinary.
You see, he’ll be born with a heart that will melt yours, and you will never, ever be the same.