Mighty Heart

On April 7, 1999, my daughter had open heart surgery. She was seven months old. During that time I was "blogging" - maintaining a web journal of my pregnancy (believe it not, I coded it myself).

Less than week before Thanksgiving 2011 we learned she may need an additional surgery. During a recent test they found something that they'd never seen in all her other exams. A vein going the wrong way - partial anomalous pulmonary venous return. You can read about it here.  We'll know more in a month or so whether or not it requires a second open heart surgery.

The doctor apologized for delivering the news so close to the holidays. I told him he had it backwards. We are grateful they found this, which is notoriously dificult to find and we never would have found it if he hadn't ordered the other test "just to be on the safe side."

It's nothing compared to what we've been through.

And yet....


Long ago on my now abandoned blog, Crib Notes (I still write a column for the paper and sometimes re run them here), I posted some of my web journals (before blogs) from those days. The first one is below.


Sierra was born by c-section at 11:07 pm, 34 hours after I had been admitted to the hospital, with Adam on hand to witness. She weighed 6 lbs, 11 oz, quite a heavy weight for what they figure was a month premature.

I watched as her light skinned body was carried to the bassinet where a neonatal team was waiting to test her lungs, provide oxygen if needed. And I heard her cry, and relief flooded me. I was ready to drift to sleep when Adam brought her to me. I looked at her, my new little girl. I was like a wolf mother, eyeing her pup for the first time. All I could think of was finding some sort of identifying mark so when I saw her again I would know it was her. There it was. A little stork bite (red mark) just above her lips. I’ll remember, I’ll remember, I thought.

I asked Adam to go with our little girl as they took her to the neonatal intensive care unit to monitor her breathing, heart and oxygen level. Adam fell in love with her immediately. I woke up to the most excited man on the planet.

I kissed her 30 times, he said, glowing with joy.

When I saw her some hours later, I fed her with my body, feeling the rush of love with every moment.

Baby Sierra

After a few days in the hospital, we discovered that Sierra had a heart murmur. After speaking to some specialists we learned that she has a heart defect known as tetralogy of fallot. I’ll be posting some links here for those interested, but the scary part is that she’ll need open heart surgery.

The doctors would like her to get to 6 months old, just to be a little bigger and a little stronger before having the surgery. I can’t begin to say how hard this news was to take. Our little angel, with a broken heart.

My sister Christy had flown in from Chicago when I started to go into labor and was there when we got the news.

The shock and sadness overwhelmed us all. I don’t know exactly how we are going to make it through the next few months, but I know we will.

And I know that this determined little girl will make it through the surgery she needs. She’s already proven she’s in charge and won’t take no for an answer.

Through this I know that many of us will learn even more about what really matters. Maybe we’ll all heal some of the fears and wounds in our own hearts as she heals hers.

I just ask that any one of you who read these pages to send your prayers and thoughts our way...

Most of the rest of the journal is on Crib Notes, here's some links:

There were more, but I never got around to posting them.