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365 Days of Heart

A year ago today, we walked into Sibley Heart Center (Nolan's pediatric Cardiologist group) for the first time. PRAYING that everything would be "normal."

Nolan was 23 days old.

They started with an EKG. We knew something was not right based on the looks of the nurse's faces and the whispers in the room. His cardiologist came in to speak with us and examined Nolan before telling us he heard a murmur.

We were taken down the hall to have an Echocardiogram. We laid him on the table, and the tech started her process of taking 100 images of the heart. As she took the photos, she would mark a measurement on the screen. I kept telling myself that she didn't measure a hole, but deep down, I knew she was.

Nolan had two holes in his heart. One is a small Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), and the other is a large Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD).

Our lives changed forever.

Looking back on this day, it was the first day of the rest of our lives. We walked in as parents, and we walked out as heart parents. We entered a community we didn't choose to be part of, but one that welcomed us with open arms.

As I reflect on this year, I realize how far Joel, Nolan, and I have come...

We learned more medical terms that we ever thought possible. We learned how to convert medication dosages and to master a pulse oximeter. We learned stats, breathing patterns, feeding tricks, etc.

We met some of the greatest and strongest heroes in the world; these tiny warriors that were given a second chance at life.

We lost some friends along the way too. Those taken from us too soon because their little bodies couldn't fight any longer.

We were reminded of what matters in life. That you can't health or the promises of tomorrow for granted.

We handed over our son to strangers that saved his life.

Our son fought to be here today. He is our hero.

When I think of this day one year ago I am thankful. Maybe the prayer for no holes wasn't answered, because that wasn't God's plan. But I will tell you that I have watched many prayers be answered this year and I have seen them answered before my eyes.

For us, the answered prayer wasn't "no holes," it was that we lived in Atlanta with one of the top-rated pediatric cardiologist centers in the country. It was the people we met. And it was in each of the things I listed above.

I can't believe it has been 365 days since we started this heart journey. I am forever grateful and forever changed.

Nolan, I will always pick you.

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Nolan looks AHmazing!!!! What a wonderful story of how all three of you have grown in love and hope over this year! I hope you know how much you three are teaching the rest of us about faith, perseverance, courage, persistence, and love 💕. Thank you! With love, ❤️ Leah

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