Down syndrome, babies, heart defect, VSD, open heart surgery. This is a follow-up piece to “The Heart of the Matter”.
“Chance”, it’s the single word that’s dominated our lives for the past 9 months.
Your son has a 3% chance of having Down syndrome. He has a 99% chance of having Down syndrome. You have a 1% chance of conceiving another child with Down syndrome. He has a 95% chance of his VSD closing, he has an 80% chance, no 50% chance. Chances.
This last cardiology appointment, I didn’t bother asking what the chances were. I’m tired of talking about chances. Especially when it comes to my son’s life
It was a very rushed Thursday morning. Violet, in all of her 2-year-old teething glory, would not let me out of her sight. When I finally dropped her off at preschool, I got a phone call from Anderson’s cardiologist, “Hi, it’s Dr. Blair. So, I talked to the surgeons and they all agree that he needs open-heart surgery.”
John 16:33 “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I’m so used to getting bad news, I should have known what would happen next: I’m calm, stoic even, I ask questions. I take a deep breath and call Andy. I dazedly drive home. The tears start. I send a fiery theological based email to our pastor. More tears. I write. I pick up Violet McDonalds because the thought of making her a ham sandwich seems like too much work. I break the news to friends. I cry as I receive their text messages. I don’t think I have an appetite, but I remember that it’s simply not in my DNA and I heat up the closest comfort food I can find. It’s almost down to a science.
I wasn’t expecting bad news this time. I thought the doctor was calling to tell me that we were still in a grey area, that there was still a chance his VSD would close.
I mean, I prayed for it…
Dear God, I know you have the capability of closing the hole in Anderson’s heart. Please close it, please spare my sweet baby from surgery. Please protect him. Please protect us. Please say “yes” this time.
Somewhere between listening to Natalie Grant’s “Held” on repeat, hundreds of tears and eating leftover quinoa spaghetti (I am still trying to lose this baby weight after all) my anger lessened a bit.
Ok, I still have anger issues. I mean, really, aren’t 3 moves and a life-changing diagnosis enough for 9 months?
But I came to this conclusion: by definition, miracles are few and far between. I don’t think God performs miracles by divine intervention very often, but I do think He uses people to do His work for him.
If I were to get cancer one day, I would not just pray for it to go away. No. I would get treated and pray that the treatment works. If we pray for God to feed the hungry in Africa, is He going make food suddenly appear on plates? No, but He works in the hearts of His people to raise the necessary funds to do so.
As far as the chances go, I don’t think they are a real thing. I believe God has seen all of the days of Anderson’s life, including the one where he will have surgery.
So, I pray, not for God to spare him from surgery, but for God to be with him and the doctors in those hours. I believe this is the only thing we are promised in this life. Not that trouble or hardships won’t come, but that He will be there when they do.
Matthew 28:20 “…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”