When you first found out you were pregnant, what emotions did you experience?
“I’m gonna be a mommy!”
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
“I’m so happy!!!”
I felt all of these emotions and many more! I had an ideal pregnancy the first time around, so when I found out I was expecting my son Gunner, the last thing on my mind was my baby’s health.
In the womb Gunner was, well, GUNNER! He was runnin’ and gunnin’ the entire time! When I went into labor I was in lots of pain but anxious to see my bouncing baby boy. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of something that seemed to never let up.
He was delivered via emergency C-section. I remember thinking, “Yes, it’s finally over!” but it was just the beginning. He was born perfectly healthy on December 6th, and we happily passed him around! The next day, when I thought we would be going home, a nurse observed Gunner on my chest taking bigger than normal breaths and wanted to get him checked out. They determined he had pneumonia and had to be in the NICU for 10 days. I was devastated but knew I needed to be strong for him. I didn’t realize how much of a blessing pneumonia would be.
On the 7th day in the NICU, a weekend nurse came to give us our son and told us she heard a heart murmur. My heart stopped. She reassured us that it could be something that would close up on its own, but I had a sinking feeling that might not be the case. The next day, following an echocardiogram, we got the news. Our son would have to have open heart surgery.
I am not going to sugarcoat it, I was devastated and very angry at God! “I prayed every day for a healthy child and THIS is what you gave me?” I was in a deep depression coupled with postpartum depression, not leaning on my husband and family and definitely not relying on God.
About 2 months later, my husband gave it to me straight. “God has never left us and he never will! Instead of focusing on what problems Gunner has, concentrate on what God has blessed him and us with.” I don’t like admitting that my husband is right (Ha! Just kidding!) but he was spot on! Too many times when something doesn’t go our way we immediately place blame on God instead of giving him his due.
God placed the right healthcare workers, family, friends, and even strangers in our life to guide us where we needed to be. I had to realize that no one could do this except God. To God be the glory for giving me way more grace and love than I deserved!
Fast forward to the heart of the matter, the surgery. He was only 7 months old the day he had open heart surgery. When I think about that day it truly seems like I dreamed it up, but it was all too real. I had to exercise my FULL faith in God because it was completely out of my hands. The hardest part was handing him over to the nurse to go into surgery. When I got back to the family room where my family and friends were waiting I fell into my sister’s lap, sobbing, “Why did I hand him over to her?” She simply said, “You handed him over to God. He’s got this now.” At that moment, a complete sense of calm came over my entire body. I had never felt that kind of peace before, but it was God’s complete peace to comfort me in my greatest time of need. Gunner was in surgery for 6 hours. Every hour, we got updates on how he was doing. The final call was, “It was a success! Come see your son!” Let me tell you, I basically RAN to see him. I hadn’t spent more than 1 hour away from him his entire life!
When I saw him I was extremely happy! The 5 days we were in the hospital I maintained a positive, happy attitude. Not only did I know Gunner would need that boost, but I realized that God was good and that everyday Gunner had after his surgery was a complete blessing. My husband told me later that my mom approached him in the hospital and asked, “Are you sure she is ok? She seems too calm for what she is going through.” This gave me a good chuckle because I am normally not a calm person. It goes to show that when you put your FULL faith in God, you begin to see what he can do for you!
So, here are a few things that I learned through this Journey of the Heart:
Be joyful! Keep a positive attitude. It is easy to be negative but choose to be happy in all things and it will be contagious.
Let God take control. He will take care of you! He knows you best so he will give you what you need and also what others cannot.
Have FULL faith in God. No matter the circumstance, always have faith that God will see you through it…because HE WILL.