Well, I'm not actually doing either yet - though I'm thinking on it and starting to make a list. I hate packing - even when it's for something fun. Packing for this seems ... I don't know ... but it's definitely not something "fun". It's like something I don't really want to think about. What will I need while I'm in the hospital with my sweet baby? I didn't even pack for her birth! I usually pack while I'm in labor (yes, I always put it off until the last moment). Eliana's labor started with me being sick - very, very sick! I was hospitalized for severe dehydration which had caused contractions. Kind of like the start of my pregnancy. I can grin about it now.
My heart jumps each time I look at my blog and it's past midnight. The ticker counter is one of the first things I see - after my beautiful baby's smiling face. When the count has gone day another day it always startles me. Did you notice what it says now? 1 day until open heart surgery. One day. We have been counting towards this day for awhile and now it is almost here. I'm not sure I'm ready for this. I'm not really sure that I ever would be though. How do you prepare for something like this? Pray and pray and pray some more.
Speaking of prayer, we were blessed to have 3 elders from our church come to pray with us this morning. They annointed and prayed for Eliana, her surgery, our family and more. I am thankful that these dear friends were willing to do this for us.
I know that God hears our prayers, though I do confess that I had many times early in this journey of feeling like my prayers were being ignored (I knew that they weren't) or that "NO" was the answer. It hurt to have several very specific prayers answered in ways opposite of what I'd prayed for. I know that there is no guarantee that I'll get what I want when I pray. I know that God knows better than I do. I also know that sin wages war on us each and every day. It helps us long for a new home where there is no sickness or sadness or death.
I've had so many people tell me that they are praying for us. So many! Churches, prayer chains, Bible studies, and friends all over the country and world even. People posting requests on their blogs - friends and even strangers. (If you have something posted about Eliana on your blog, I would love to know that!) Many of my sweet FIAR sisters are praying for us and many have signed up on a list so that we have prayer coverage around the clock. What a blessing that is to me that people would care enough to pray for us! It brings me to tears every time. (Yes, I'm in tears a lot these days. Some sad tears and often tears of happiness too.) Thank you - all of you!
Just last night as we were talking with our children, Joshua seemed surprised when I said something about Eliana's heart being fixed. He asked if she was going to have her heart fixed. I said "yes". (Haven't we been talking about this? Maybe it's our recent study of the heart that made it seem more real to him?) Then he asked if they were going to have to cut her open. I again responded "yes". Then with a quavering voice and tears in his eyes he asked "Is she going to die?" With tears in my own eyes I told him that the surgery was to help her so that she could live. I don't want to be dishonest with him as there is always risk with surgery, but I also don't want to plant fears there either. I know he isn't ready to hear the details of what she'll be going through. Maybe after it's all over and she is safely home. Please pray for his tender heart - and my other children's hearts too as I know it will be hard for each of them in different ways.
We spent most of the day at home today. We had plans to be out, but circumstances changed and we felt it best to stay here. We are hoping to stay healthy. We want to be well going into Eliana's surgery. A calm day at home was a nice blessing.
I still need to pack. I don't know if I'll be staying while Eliana is in ICU. Some people have said to go home and rest as the nurse to patient ratio is really high - and Eliana will be heavily sedated at first. On the other hand it just seems wrong somehow to leave my baby. How can I just leave her there? It's not that I don't trust her care, I just don't want her to be alone. Is it just thinking that I'll be a "bad mom" if I leave her there? I know that once she is transferred to a room that I'll be with her around the clock. I'm just not sure about the first nights. I guess that hampers my knowing how to pack. I really don't know what I'm doing. And that is like so much of this journey so far - I really don't know what I'm doing much of the time.
I'm praying and doing my best. I'm trying to lean on God and learn from all of this. I have wondered what I'm supposed to be learning and had many conversations with God about all that I've gone through. I've wondered if walking through this time of fire would change me. I have told God that it would be a real shame to have gone through this and remain unchanged. I want Him to do a work in me! I want Him to show in me. I want Him to be able to use me.
Please keep praying for our family. I am thankful for your prayers, your notes and your comments of encouragment. Even though I'm not able to respond to each of you, know that your words, your efforts and your love have touched my heart deeply!