Matters of the Heart

Although the answers we got at the cardiologist weren’t the most favorable, I feel better knowing just a little more about our Luna.

Luna has what is called an AV canal which is a large hole between her heart’s two upper chambers and another hole between the two lower chambers. She is lucky in that she has two independent valves and her heart function seems to be very good. The doctor was not super concerned because he said these structural issues are easily fixed with surgery and they are not contributing to the build up of fluid in her chest or abdomen. He couldn’t get a good look at her aorta, but said that it is possible that there is something called a coarctation where the aorta narrows or pinches a few centimeters away from the heart which can cause dangerous pressure in the aorta. This is also easily fixed with surgery.

It was nice to talk to him because he took some time to get to know our situation before talking to us and was careful to explain everything he saw on the ultrasound and even to explain what he was looking for and what it might mean. He was friendly but thorough and didn’t seem to worry about upsetting me, which I appreciate. I can’t really trust people who are too worried about upsetting me to tell me the whole story, you know?

He made some suggestions about where we should deliver if we get to that point and was very careful to explain to us that the heart issues alone were not life threatening at this point. All very good things. And more comforting than “we don’t know what to tell you.”

The next step is figuring out what is causing the fluid build up – the hydrops – in her abdomen and chest. We will probably look at her kidneys next and determine if they are doing a proper job of filtering the blood. So we have an ultrasound tomorrow.

I am just so relieved and ecstatic every time I see that tiny beating heart on the screen. I am anticipating a day when I won’t see that and I am never sure how I will react in the moment.

When Jake had his heart attack at 16, I was a senior in high school. I found him on the floor outside my room and he was telling me that his chest hurt. That day I felt like I had a purpose. I had to call the ambulance and I had to wake my dad up. I had to take care of my younger siblings. I stupidly went to school that day because I felt like it was part of my duty and purpose and it gave me something to focus on while my brother had open heart surgery.

That day was so different from the day I found him lifeless on the bathroom floor. Dying Jake was relatively easy. Dead Jake, not so easy.

I feel much the same way about Luna. I know that God is going to take her one day and it’s almost the same way that I knew He would take Jake. For years, I knew in the back of my mind that Jake could have a heart attack and die, but I never really prepared for it. The only difference is that, having lost Jake, I know that I will be okay if I lose Luna. Life will continue and this experience will shape me and mold me more into the person that God wants me to be.

Do you ever think about that? What we go through in life is God’s way of making us into a better image of him. This situation with my Luna is only molding me into someone who is better equipped to share Christ with others. And no matter what happens – if we get to keep her or if she gets to go to heaven and meet up with Jakey – it is going to make me the person that God wants me to be. And that is the person that I want to be.

I am always praying for that miracle, but ultimately praying for God’s will to be done.

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