Getting a full night’s sleep these past three years has been something I would definitely call a challenge, one of the more saltier challenges. So this past weekend we, well Hubby, took apart Champion’s crib (that he never slept in, more on that later) to make it into a double bed so that Hubby and I could take turns getting in a full nights sleep.
Last time Champion’s crib was in pieces likes this was when I was a few weeks away from giving birth to him. Then Hubby was putting the crib together and we were so excited about the upcoming birth of our first baby. Like most new parents we really didn’t fully know what to expect once the baby came, but we were full of hopes and dreams of our son.
We would sit and talk about how we thought his personality would be, the sports he may play, how he would do in school, what he would look like, what he may be when he grows up. We talked about the type of parents we wanted to be to him, how we wanted to encourage him, the things we would discipline him for, the values that we would teach him. It was a good time. A time of anticipation and uninhibited dreaming.
After Champion was born though, things got tough. All did not go according to our plans and our dreams felt like they were shattered. I remember the intense feeling of fear I felt the day after Champion was born and a cardiologist came into my hospital room to let hubby and I know that our day old baby would eventually need heart surgery. Not just heart surgery. Open heart surgery. Like stop his heart for a couple of hours and use a machine to pump a stranger’s blood* into his body heart surgery.
I remember the shock and sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as the cardiologist proceeded to tell us that Champion had a heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which consists of four parts of the heart that were in need of correction. However the first thing I heard was that he had a hole in his heart and that scared me. That really scared me. As the Dr kept talking and explaining and drew a picture for us to try to understand what was happening with Champion’s heart, my own heart was breaking. We had not talked about this. We had not planned for this. This was not a part of our dream. This was not supposed to happen. But it was.
The surgery was to take place when he was six months old, however his oxygen saturation was low and at four months of age, with a days notice, we packed our bags and headed to a hospital an hour from home. By this time we were prepared for the heart surgery. We had time to pray. We had time to have family and friends pray. We had time to research, to prepare… and to dream of moving past this bump in the road for our son and get on with the life we dreamt of.
Champion’s actual surgery went well. However his recovery was shaky, critical at times. The hospital stay that was supposed to be four to seven days morphed into a chaotic five week stint in two different hospitals. It was during this hospital stay that our dreams were completely blown to pieces.
One night a friendly but serious Doctor came into Champion’s ICU room. I was standing at Champion’s bedside watching him watch a mobile with animals playing sports spinning above his head. I excitedly told the Dr that Champion was going to play soccer. We had come to that conclusion because of all the sports balls the soccer ball was the one that he seemed to look at the most.
The Dr did not respond to my comment and asked us to have a seat. He made some small talk with us…then proceeded to deliver devastating news that no parent ever wants to hear. He began by telling us that we thought the worst was over (meaning his heart surgery) but that he was there to let us know that really, the worst was just beginning. In a kind, compassionate, and knowledgable manner he proceeded to give us Champion’s full diagnosis and it was serious. And we were shocked. And sad. And confused. And…
*Blood Donors are really amazing and impact so many lives and families. If you are a blood donor reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart.