as i write, i am laying in bed in a dark room, listening to my precious baby girl snore like an old grandpa.  she is in the pack 'n play, i in her bed.  both of us together so that when she awakes every couple of hours i can whisper in her ear that mama is here, rub her belly, and send her back to dreamland.  it is a sweetness between mom and baby that i haven't had in awhile.  and one for which i am immeasurably more grateful for tonight.

the first clue should have been when our pediatrician mentioned on monday that she could find no signs that sarahjoy was in heart failure. heart failure???  the second clue should have been when i heard her on the phone with the cardiologist's office, 'i understand this is not your regular routine but she needs to be seen this week.'  the third clue should have been when we were sitting in the cardiology office no less than 48 hours later.

open heart surgery is what the doctor has ordered.  sooner rather than later.  if sj were born in the states, her heart would have been fixed within the first 6 months of life.  without being melodramatic, she is on borrowed time.

i knew something was wrong the minute i held her.  i told eric i couldn't sleep because i was afraid she was going to die while we were in china.  we laughed it off (as i regularly have crazy fears...think fiery plane crashes) but i knew in my gut that something was not right.  at one point i looked up on the internet what a normal heart rate for a 2 year old was.  my gut told me my baby's heart was sick.  i was anxious to get home so that someone could tell me i was being irrational.  after all, we had been told it was a small hole in her heart, probably would heal on its own and if not there would possibly be surgery before she entered school.  open heart surgery was the worst case, super bad news scenario.

so i lay here listening to my baby breathe in and out.  knowing now that her heart is working four times harder than it should be.  knowing that in a few weeks her chest will be cracked open and her life will literally be in the hands of a doctor.  but also knowing that she has been rescued from certain death in the orphanages of china.  knowing and thanking God that he brought her home at just the right time.  thankful that i was prompted in my heart to make an appointment with our pediatrician, before we even left for china, for the day after we came home.  thankful that our pediatrician was gentle with us but aggressive on the phone and made sure we were sitting in the cardiology office.  thankful for the gracious and compassionate cardiologist who knew he was dealing us a heavy blow and did it with great sensitivity and care.  thankful that we have a renowned children's hospital 20 minutes from our house.  and mostly thankful that God is with me and my baby girl.

tonight i am choosing to be thankful.

but i am scared.


Anonymous said...

Ashleigh I love the way you write so honestly, share your life and the real emotions you communicate. Please do keep us all updated as you continue to prepare for surgery so we can know how to specifically pray for you all and SJ. May you be overwhelmed with God's presence during these days. You are such a special mom!


Jill said...

Ashleigh, I'm so sorry for that hard news, but so glad you thought ahead to make that appointment. God is good and gracious in getting your Sarahjoy to you in the nick of time. We're praying for you all.

Cara said...

Wow. We'll be praying for you all and for Sarajoy's surgery. God is the ultimate healer and his timing is always perfect!

Anonymous said...

So sorry for such difficult news.
Will be praying for Sarahjoy's surgery.
~Karen Schanck

Anonymous said...

was shocked so see this...oh my goodness... i know your mind and heard must be going in a million directions. we are PRAYING for SJ and all of you...i love how you finish with "choosing to be thankful". May the God of all comfort and peace comfort you all in the days ahead...g

Anonymous said...

Praying for you as you go through this with your sweet Sarah Joy. Healing for her, peace in your heart for you. SO glad she is with you rather than still in the orphanage. God's timing is perfect. Keep us posted.
Tracy (Jacob's mom)

Debbie Crafts said...

Ashleigh - God would not have brought you, Eric, and Sarah Joy this far to leave you now. His hand is in this, and He has a purpose and a plan. Praying for all of you, but especially Sarah Joy. Debbie

Cristina said...

Hi Ashleigh,
I am amazed at how God works. Wow. I will be praying for God to hold little SJ and you all. For God to guide and lead the cardiologist...and to take good care of you, mom. You are a GREAT mom! Keep holding her tight!

tinalee said...

will be praying for you dear friend and your sweet little sarah joy.

Julie said...