Wow! Its been 5 years. Those of you that have known for me for that long (or longer) may also be surprised that it has been 5 years. In some ways it seems distant, but it only takes thinking about it for a moment for the tears to start forming in my eyes. Yes, they are there right now, waiting to brim over if I think about it much more.
Our sweet little Eliana was born with two holes in her heart. We found out about this on the day of her birth and the day after being released from the NICU, we had our first (of many) cardiology appointments. We were given signs to watch for as we waited for her to go into heart failure. Our precious pediatrician saw it first - come slowly - but coming none the less. Within a few days, it was awful. She was just 5 weeks old and couldn't stay awake and couldn't eat. I remember staying up with her most of the night just terrified of what was happening. Knowing that had we lived in another time or another place that this would be the end of her story.
By God's grace, there has been so much more!
We still waited though. She received a feeding tube so that she could be fed enough to gain weight. And so for 3 more months we waited. On April 16, 2007, we rose early in the morning and headed to Duke hospital for her surgery. Sweet friends were there with us to pray and encourage and comfort us.
You can read more about it here. It was hard. Oh, so very hard. And it was also a time where God poured out so much love and grace. Handing over my little girl was one of the hardest things I've ever done. You see, as I prayed with God over her upcoming surgery, I wrestled with Him. I wanted her healed and whole. I wanted my way. He called me though to His way. He asked me to be willing to hand her over to Him. He asked me if I trusted that He was good. Did I say it only or truly believe it? It wasn't easy and I didn't want the outcome to be anything other than my way. In the end though, I knew I had to trust Him. I had to step out in faith and say that He is good ... no matter what. When I handed my little girl to the doctors, I was handing her over to God.
While we waited, I had such a sense of peace. His peace that passes understanding. Thankfully, God did also give us the desires of our heart - that our little girl would be healed. I'm so thankful that He didn't call us to more that day. I know that this was a much easier path than many have walked with their children. I'm thankful.
(For any that want to look, here are photos from the day of surgery and some from after the surgery are here.)
So each year, we celebrate this day. We mark it as a family. The celebration isn't large, but it is special to us. This year, we went out for ice cream. Again, not a huge event, but sometimes it isn't about what you are doing and more that you are remembering and thanking God for His goodness and faithfulness.
I'm so thankful for His healing hand on our little girl.
In terms of her heart, it is working beautifully today! She has had no problems at all! She does have a small leak in one of her valves and she is monitored for that. We are hopeful that her heart will grow in such a way as not to stress this tear and that she won't need heart surgery again in the future. If she does, we will walk it again - with God by our side.