5 years ago, my hospital room was packed, Maggie’s going home outfit was laid out on the hospital bed, and Ryan and Trent were on their way to bring me and our new baby girl home from the hospital. They had just come to get Maggie to complete her routine discharge exam. Minutes later, Dr. Krafcik came in to inform me that he had heard a heart murmer and they would be taking Maggie for an echocardiogram, shortly. I thought nothing of it. Lots of babies have murmers… no big deal. 30 minutes passed and in walked a Dr. I had nevre seen before. He introduced himself, “Dr. Bruns from cardiology”. He, then went on to explain that my daughter who I thought was perfectly healthy had a very serious heart defect. My mind went fuzzy, I heard bits and pieces of what he said… “your daughter is misssing a ventricle”… “she has to have surgery before she can come home”… “this is serious”… “are you ok?”
Then he left. Another cardiologist would be coming to speak with me soon. I sat down… My world falling apart all around me… I tried to get a hold of Ryan so he wouldn’t bring Trent up to the hospital… they were getting on the elevator. I called my Mom, unable to talk through the tears, and tried to explain that something was VERY wrong with Maggie. Before I knew it, in walked Ryan with my sweet 19 month old, Trent. Trent walked over to me, climbed up in my lap, and began rocking me. He knew I was sad, but he didn’t really know why.
It wasn’t long after Ryan arrived that the other cardiologist, Dr. Goel, came to explain things to us. He drew a picture of Maggie’s very sick heart and wrote down the explanation: “Double Inlet Left Ventricle, Transposition of the Greater Arteries, Interrupted Aortic Arch”. He informed us that Maggie was in the NICU and was very stable, but that she would be transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital within the hour. At this point, our room was filled with family: my Mom and Dad, Alissa, and our pastor. Then, walked in our pediatrician and long time family friend. She sat down on the bed across from us and we handed her the picture with the diagnosis. While I had not understood much before this moment, her face said it all. I knew that my Maggie Jane was very sick. She explained that it was definitely very serious but that she had patients who had made it through.
We walked to the NICU to see Maggie before she was taken to SLCH. She was hooked up to the monitors and had an IV through her belly button. Other than that, she still looked like our healthy baby girl. I wanted to scoop her up and run out of that place. I wanted my carefree life that I would never know again. I knew that inside her perfect, scarless chest beat a heart that could not keep her alive without a surgeons’ hands. I had no idea what our life would be like after this day, but I knew it would be so very different from anything I had ever imagined. I simply prayed that God would let me keep my Maggie Jane.
April 7, 2007 was the worst day of my life. It was excruciating. By that evening, I had heard Maggie’s heart explained to me and listened to my Mom or Ryan explain it to so many friends and family on the phone that I couldn’t hear it anymore. Hearing those words over and over made me want to puke. There was no turning back. Our life had changed in just a few moments.
What I did not know on that day was the joy that would come from the life God had chosen for us and for Maggie. He had so much more planned for our daughter than we ever could have imagined. While we still do not fully understand the why’s, we know that He works all things together for good for those who love Him. I am so thankful that He gives us a glimpse in to His good plan every once in a while.