It’s that time again. Yep, another birthday. If you would have asked me two years ago about how I felt about birthdays I would have told you they aren’t as fun anymore. In elementary school, birthdays meant friends, cake, party streamers and presents. It was always the next milestone that kept you going….turning 5 meant going to school, 12 meant one more birthday until I was officially a teenager, 16 – driving!, 18 meant I was legally an “adult”, 21 meant I could legally drink. then after that…nothing too exciting.
Now birthdays take on a whole new meaning. At 29 I had a miscarriage shortly after the new year after trying a year to conceive. At 30 we were struggling to get pregnant and trying. so. hard. to do so. At 31 I had an 8 week old and was learning not only how to be a mother for the first time, but also how to live with a child with a heart defect. Now, at 32 I have an almost 14 month old who has gone through two catheter procedures and one open heart surgery. I guess my point is that I am not hung up on having a birthday anymore. I do not care that they aren’t “exciting” as we pictured birthdays to be when we were younger. The fact is that I am completely blessed and that is a gift enough for every day of the year. So, in honor of my 32 years, I thought about writing down 32 things I was thankful for. But that started to take all day. So, here are a few.
Things for which I am thankful:
- Ultrasound techs. I am thankful for our ultrasound tech. I wish I knew her name so I could walk up to her with Reiss and give her the biggest hug in the universe. It is because of her education and experience that we were able to find out Reiss had an issue with her heart. True, we didn’t really see it as a blessing at the time, but I would not change how it ended up looking back on it now.
- Doctors, nurses, surgeons and other staff members at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. It is amazing how far medicine has come in terms of diagnosing and correcting congenital heart defects. Catheter procedures blow my mind. Open heart surgery at 11 months (or much, much sooner for some)??? That’s just crazy.
- Facebook. I have found multiple Facebook groups for heart families. It is great to talk to people in a similar situation, to ask questions and get advice. It has helped me immensely.
- Reiss MaeLene. It seemed like it took us forever to get pregnant. (Side note: trying to conceive has also given me a better appreciation for those with fertility issues – if that is you, keep your head up! God has a plan) Now, we have this cute, funny, crazy, completely mobile and smart one year old. She is perfect just as she is. At her last cardiologist appointment, which was last week, she weighed about 21 pounds and was 30 inches. For a heart baby, she is HUGE! and if you ask her cousin Camren, “she is SO heavy”. I love her strawberry blond hair and I hope she will always have a hint of red in her hair as she grows. She loves her dada and says “dada” all. day. long.
- Prayers – thank you all for the wealth of prayers from our 20 week ultrasound, through Reiss’s procedures and surgery, and now. We believe in the power of prayer!
I’ve heard of Black Friday….but Giving Tuesday??
That’s right. Giving Tuesday. If you haven’t heard of it, google it. After we spend millions of dollars as a country on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we have the opportunity to give back to the community on Giving Tuesday. As a heart mama, I am partial to CHD Awareness. Choose to give back – whether it is today, Tuesday or anytime this year. Our webpage is open for our heart walk team now. Please share with your friends and family to help spread awareness about CHD and newborn heart screening. All money collected from our team page goes directly to CHD Awareness as part of this American Heart Association fundraiser. Want to help with a fundraiser of your own? Let me know! Close to Heart fundraising page