Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Reality of Lies

Human beings have an amazing capacity to lie to themselves. Or rather, tell themselves all sorts of things to make themselves feel better.

When Sugarplum was born, her pediatrician heard a slight heart murmur. No big deal. Most babies are born with heart murmurs that close on their own within a couple weeks. At her 6 week check-up, it was still there. So, just to make sure it was nothing, and catch it early if it was something, she referred us to a pediatric cardiologist.

So we went... and our lives changed.

Her cardiologist is great and took a pretty thorough echo-cardiogram. He told us we were lucky - we'd get to come back.

Turns out, Sugarplum has an ASD which is a small hole between the upper chambers of her heart that a small amount of blood flows through rather than circulating through the entire heart. She also has a small kink in the valve that passes blood from the lungs to the heart that causes is it to not close completely tight and some blood leaks through. Not a huge problem, but one that requires open heart surgery.

Open. Heart. Surgery. On my baby. We both burst into tears in the parking lot. As parents, we never wanted to hear that there was something wrong with our baby.

So when we went home we turned to the great and powerful Google to answer all our questions. We found that of all the possible congenital heart defects she could have, this is probably the best. It's relatively common and operated on all the time.

We are also blessed to have some of the best pediatric medical professionals close by at Lucile-Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

For nearly three years, we have taken her for check-ups every few months. Her weight gain has been steady, she's hit all the right developmental milestones at all the right times, and has been an absolute joy and the light of our lives. Her heart hasn't slowed her down one bit and you'd never suspect a medical issue looking at her.

Now the time has come to actually have her surgery. She's scheduled for mid-May and hubby and I will be spending our 4th wedding anniversary in the hospital with our precious baby girl. Even though we've known this was coming. Even though we've been preparing for it for the last couple years, it still came as a shock to find that she is actually on the calendar for surgery. It's really going to happen.

Somehow, as long as it was in the undefined future, and something that "would have to happen eventually" it was never quite the same as it is now. It's certainly no surprise, but in some way, the reality is just now beginning to set in.