I keep coming back to the words Dillon spoke to me that night that I felt so hopeless and devastated for Ruby. Ruby had just been placed into our arms on Wednesday and appeared so perfect. Waiting to become pregnant with her for 2 years was difficult at times, but she was here and I couldn’t have been more in love with her. Our little miracle was here. My heart was bursting with love and gratitude!
On Thursday, the pediatrician IMC sent to check on Ruby (ours is too far away) heard a heart murmur and her heartbeat was fast. Heart murmurs are very common in newborns we’ve learned. Friday morning he checked her again and noticed her heart beat was still fast and the murmur was louder, so the louder bit worried him. He ordered an echocardiogram for her. My mom brought the kids to see her, but they stayed for an hour and Ruby was in there for the echocardiogram the whole time. When they told us she would need one they said it would take 1/2 an hour. When it’d been 1 1/2 hours I was thinking something might be wrong. The kids and mom went home without seeing her.
That afternoon, the pediatrician came and said he sent the results to a cardiologist to review at Primary Children’s. He told us she had Tetralogy of Fallot, that he had never seen it in all his years of practice. He tried to explain things best he could, but since Dillon and I are not heart experts he used a lot of words and phrases that made no sense. So I said, “Ok, it’s hard to understand everything you are saying, but are you saying she will need surgery?” He said, “Yes, she will have to have surgery.” He spoke to us some more, more words that weren’t making a lot of sense and I asked, “I’m having a hard time knowing what to think. Should we be freaking out?” His response: “I would be freaking out.” Dillon wrote down the diagnosis, Tetralogy of Fallot, having the pediatrician spell it three times for us. The pediatrician said the cardiologist wanted us to make an appointment asap at Primary Children’s for the following week.
Dillon got online and did a little research while I called my mom and sobbed out the news to her. She told me to stay offline so I didn’t read anything too scary. So I did, but just until Dillon left to grab some dinner. It was pretty late at this time, getting dark outside so probably around 9. Ruby was asleep in my arms and I typed in Tetralogy of Fallot. And what I read still was a mix of terms and phrases that made no sense to me. I think the only thing that I remember reading was “most people who are born with Tetralogy of Fallot make it to adulthood and lead normal lives.” Which you think would give me hope, but it was the MOST in that statement that upset me. But rather than clinging to hope, I lost it. Completely lost it. I sobbed and bawled, hugging Ruby tightly to me. Wondering why she had to go through this, worrying that we would lose her. Knowing nothing about Tetralogy of Fallot was terrifying to me. I snuggled Ruby and prayed so hard that we wouldn’t lose her through this. Nurses came in and were worried about my emotional state–they thought all Ruby had was a heart murmur and kept telling me she’d be ok and that lots of babies have heart murmurs that fix themselves. I tried to explain what she had, but it kept making me cry more.
Finally Dillon came back. It’d been about an hour. He saw me, sat on the bed and took Ruby. He rocked her back and forth and said to me that yes, it was scary and sad, and that it was ok to be sad. Then he said, “This is how God sent her to us Christie. This is how God wanted her to come to us. And so no matter what happens, it is what God planned for Ruby.” What amazing faith that man has. I married an amazing man. Those words come back to me again and again. He is right, of course. I still lose it, I still have moments of breaking down, but if I can remember the faith of my sweet hubby, it helps calm me and have more faith in God.
A couple days after being home, all our other kids were with my mom. I was having a moment in my room again with Ruby. Dillon had been working at home and was taking his lunch break. He came up to see me crying while feeding Ruby. He warmed up some leftover dinner for me so I could eat while feeding Ruby. Then he brought a chair up and his lunch, along with his laptop to play some music. He played a song for me that I had heard once but didn’t really listen to the words. It’s by Kip Moore and it’s pretty cute. One of the last verses of the song goes like this: “Hey pretty girl you did so good. Our baby’s got your eyes and a fighter’s heart like I knew she would. Hey pretty girl, when I see the light and it’s my time to go I’m gonna thank the Lord for a real good life. A pretty little girl and a beautiful wife.” As tears gathered in my eyes again from all of that, I looked at Dillon and saw tears in his eyes also. And we smiled and cried together. I love that man.
Trials are not easy. I’m trying hard to let it strengthen me. Through this all I will thank Him for letting us have Ruby at all.
I will write more later about what we’ve learned about Tetralogy of Fallot and our meeting with the cardiologist.
Just a little extra info here: We are thankful that the pediatrician caught it. We are thankful we felt prompted to have a c-section and to go to the hospital we did. Otherwise we would have gone home sooner and they wouldn’t have caught it so soon, not to mention the added stress on Ruby’s heart if we had a normal delivery. My pediatrician where we live would have caught it eventually, but who knows how long it would have been. We feel strongly that the c-section and switch of hospitals ended up being the best thing for Ruby and are thankful for answered prayers and promptings during that decision.
Originally posted on my family blog June 15, 2013.