Forewarning -- it might not be little. And there's no pictures -- how do you take pictures of a miracle?
This year we've been really regular about doing our advent calendar every night (miracle #1). It's actually an alphabet advent from The Friend magazine about 3 years back so all I did was cut out the squares, put them in our calendar with treats (Hershey kisses) and the girls take turns each night saying the dinner prayer and opening a door. Each letter stands for something related to Christ and the Nativity and we've had a lot of great discussions about those things in our home. I really really love it. So we've been telling lots of scripture stories and I've been thinking about miracles.
Side story that's really cute -- miracle related but not Christmas -- the other day Chopper lit something with his firestarter and Megan asked why the flame was blue. My answer would have been because it's burning gas instead of wood but Chopper started into a spiel about the heat of different flames and the colors that different materials burn, etc. etc. Very scouting of him. Of course this also leads to the age-old admonishments about not touching fire. So Abby jumps in with -- "but we can touch Jesus fire!!" That took us back for a minute until we realized she was talking about Moses and the burning bush. After about 10 minutes of us telling her not to touch fire and her insisting you can touch Jesus fire we finally specified that she will probably never see Jesus fire but she can touch it if it talks to her. How else do you deviate a 3 year old from the idea that it's ok without killing her faith??
Anyway. Yesterday Chopper and I had an echocardiogram with the attending pediatric cardiologist at Children's Hospital in Dallas and spent nearly 2 hours with her going over stuff and then seeing the hospital. Quite frankly I am scared out of my wits. The doctor kept emphasizing a few things:
1. This is a marathon, not a sprint and not a fix.
2. Single ventricle palliation surgeries give us the hope that our son will go to college.
3. 50% of children with infant heart transplants (and that's 50% of children who are able to get a heart) will live until they're about 15 years old.
4. We will outlive our son, no question. The question is how long?
5. Methods that they use today are better than 5 years and 10 years ago and they are very good at Children's.
6. Despite encouraging the parents to live at the hospital for at least 6 weeks during the initial hospital stay, it's not going to be very comfortable.
Despite all of this heavy news and fairly negative news (although nothing really new here), Chopper and I both came away from the visit feeling incredibly positive in many ways and I think that it's because the Lord provides miracles and tender mercies to buoy us up even when a complete healing is not in the plan (and it's really not). And these are just little things I think but they are a big deal to me.
1. I can have a normal, vaginal labor and delivery. In fact, they want that. It's better for the baby's lungs and they recover more quickly which we definitely want if we're headed into surgery or transplant.
2. U.S. News and World Report ranks Children's as 19 in the nation. That's above any hospital in Virginia, Maryland, or the DC metro area including Johns Hopkins. I think the Lord has brought us to Dallas for a reason.
3. Chopper's job. Ok so he does not really like it and wants a new one and I can't blame him. But his bosses are flexible about his hours, he can't bring work home, and he knows it so well that mentally he doesn't have to put a lot of energy into his work.
4. And we have amazing maternity insurance. After he's born? Well, we're still figuring that out.
5. With the exception of some office staff (long horrible story), we have been very happy with all of the doctors that we've been directed to. And they are the ones that matter.
6. I am so grateful for expert doctors, compassionate nurses, and current medical advances. We will have time with our son.
7. My amazing family. Not everyone has them and mine may not be here but they're doing everything they can.
8. My friends. So many have reached out to us just to tell us they're praying for us and that's the most important thing. My friends here went in together to give Chopper and I babysitting and gift cards for dates and things to have us time and me time before the baby comes. The deliverer of this gift can attest that I bawled like a baby when she brought it over. It was incredibly sweet and thoughtful.
And the thing is, that's not everything. But I'm grateful to be aware of all the good that is occuring in our lives and not mired in the bad. If I didn't have so much good to focus on, I honestly don't know that I would get out of bed in the morning!!