Updated: Feb 3, 2021
"So... umm.. do you know like a.. wrestler?" -- Keep reading to find out why Joel said this to me within the first 5 minutes of giving birth.
Today is February 1st and kicks off Heart Awareness Month. Each day for the next 28 days we will be sharing posts focused on bringing awareness to Congenital Heart Disease (CHD).
CHD affects 1 child in every 100 births. That's a lot. And while this "club" is not one that we chose, we are forever changed, and forever grateful.
To share how we got to where we are today, I have to share how we started. And while this is a story I have shared with many friends and family, I think this is the first time I am typing it and sharing it.
When Nolan was born we were prepared to have a "healthy baby" - this is what we were told throughout my entire pregnancy. We did every test that you could do and each one he passed with flying colors.
For a long time after his birth I was so mad at my OB for missing all that they missed (it was 2018 it should have been caught) but I know that God was protecting me. My personality wouldn't have sat well knowing the information for weeks while being pregnant, and I am one of those weirdos that LOVED being pregnant. LOVED IT. As angry as I was for not knowing, now I can't imagine knowing.
Nolan was born the day before my birthday. My epidural didn't work and he was born within 2 hours of being at the hospital. 3 pushes and our world stopped.
You know in a movie when a trauma scene happens and everything starts moving in slow motion? People, sounds, movements? It was kind of like that. I knew something was wrong. It was silent. Joel was walking back and forth between Nolan and me. They were checking Nolan out and I could tell that something wasn't right.
Joel paced and on his tenth lap I said, "TELL ME WHAT IS HAPPENING!"...
His reply, "So... umm.. do you know like a.. wrestler?"
Joel: "Well his ear looks like that, but like, really small."
PAUSE -- Go ahead, laugh. It is hilarious now. We laugh about it all the time. My poor sweet husband had to be the one to tell me this news. And his description was dead on. ---
About that time a nurse came to me, handed me my son, and said, "I'm sorry mom, he doesn't have an ear." Her words cut through me like a knife. Sorry! You're sorry! She set the tone for the next few hours and looking back I wish I could have told myself there was NOTHING to be "sorry" about.
He was perfect. That little ear I would grow to love, and that little wrestler ear would be the first clue for his heart diagnosis.
Sadly, our hospital was a giant let down for Nolan's birth and a plan forward. But an answered prayer, that we never had to pray, was the fact that we lived near Atlanta and had access to some of the best doctors in the country. We were about to start on a journey we never expected.
May 14, 2018, is the day I became a mom. It wasn't until 3 weeks later I would become a heart mom... but that story is for another day.
A lesson to learn - if you ever encounter someone that has a child with a congenital defect. Don't say sorry. We aren't sorry. They don't bring us less joy. They are our children, and they are perfect. If you wouldn't say it to a child that could understand you, don't say it about a baby that can't.
Happy Heart Month everyone, I can't wait to show you what my boy is made of.