Walking into Cincinnati Children’s today brings back memories. Diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis at two days old, our youngest spent the first several weeks of his life in and out of the Heart Clinic.
Today, a healthy, hell-raising, five-year-old, it’s hard to imagine a time when he struggled to breath.
Ironically, A. who entered the world the most frail of our three now threatens the safety of his brothers nearly every day. The kid is a monster. Strong and athletic, he’s four feet of coiled muscle ready to spring into action. The fact that he lives and breathes super heros and dreams of growing up to be Captain America, if there’s a rumble, place your bet on my boy.
What a difference a couple of years can make.
In our house, his earlier heart condition is a non-issue. The doctors fixed it. It’s done. We don’t want him to grow up thinking he’s different (health-wise) than any other kid. We also don’t want our other boys to feel like they’re less special because they were born with healthy hearts.
I’d push the whole memory from my mind if it weren’t for our annual check. That’s why we’re here.
We share an elevator with a mom, dad and their infant son. From the number of times they check the directory, I’m certain this visit is their first. The mother coos at her son and pushes a piece of downy hair out of his face.
I know what she’s doing. I do. I remember constantly touching A. to remind myself that he was OK. Or would be soon.
I also know her guilt. When you have a child born with a congenital defect, there’s a lot of blaming. What could I have done differently during my pregnancy? How did this happen? Why? Why? Why?
It was author Elizabeth Stone who first wrote, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” I look at this mother and know she feels this. Imagine the devastation when that heart is broken.
I say a prayer and send happy, healing thoughts to the family. They may have a long road ahead of them. I don’t know the details of their story and I don’t need to. If they are here, they are scared.
If you don’t believe in prayer, believe in positive energy. As long as it’s heartfelt, it all helps.