Do you know how much I love this precious little child of God? I have been smoochin’ his precious little cheeks through many scary transitions over the past five days. I could not be more proud of my Theodore and how far he has come thanks to his incredibly strong will to fight! He has conquered ‘The Norwood’; one of the most complicated and risky surgeries associated with ‘Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome’ (HLHS). From a 6-hour open heart surgery on Wednesday, to a 3-hour cath lab procedure on Thursday, and then finally another 2-hour trip to the operating room on Friday, Teddy defies all the odds and continues to impress everyone in the unit. The one consistent comment that has been made by countless medical professionals is: “look at his size; he has been growing so big!“. I’ve recently learned that I took his ‘growth’ for granted. Many ‘CHD babies’, especially those who have extreme complications such as ‘HLHS’, experience delayed growth after birth. We are blessed beyond belief to continue to watch Theodore grow.
This journey was chosen out of love; and no matter how many twists, turns, peaks, valleys, and roadblocks come about, we will finish this course with love. And just like Theodore- love grows. It’s a type of ‘newfound love’ that has become the harvest of an unique cultivation season; a nine month period of time where ‘growth’ was successful despite many unfavorable conditions. Unlike a diminished crop yield from unforeseen amounts of scorching sun and frost bitten nights, Teddy thrived in the face of his lethal diagnosis. Theodore was the seed implanted in my womb, and just as you sow a little seed into the ground, he grew much bigger with time…. A farmer will not gather his crop until it is perfectly ripe, and the turnover from one season to another needs to take place at just the right time. August 30th came, and my harvest season finally began!
The harvest is the period of time where you ‘reap what you sow’. Contrary to the quick perception of it being the most enjoyable season, I’m quickly leaning that it actually requires the most work. My harvest is beautiful, yet it came with complications that I have to combat on a daily basis. Although I call ‘HLHS’ a problem, God calls it a harvest. You see, if we learn to reap properly, our problems will become a bountiful harvest. Corn is harvested with a big combine machine, yet tomatoes are delicately picked by hand to avoid bruising; the timing and condition for each type of harvest will be very different; some more labor intensive than others. My current harvest season with Theodore is much more demanding than it was with MacKenna, yet both seasons produced equally sweet fruit; beautiful blessings that are mine forever (Psalm 128:2). So despite these unwarranted hardships, I will roll up my sleeves and get to work; I will reap before it rots; I will not let my blessings waste away. In the midst of all the tubes, wires, and stickers attached to my baby, I can either choose to harvest anger, or I can choose to harvest gratitude. I WILL conquer this season by reaping ‘closer relationships’ with family; by reaping ‘unspeakable joy’ through the daily miracles of Teddy beating the odds stacked against him; and by reaping a brand new definition of what love really means…
“Love Never Fails”; it’s the mission of our church; the foundation of our family; a statement that has been ingrained in my heart for as long as I can remember… Theodore’s “half a heart” has made my own heart “whole” in so many ways; my baby boy has transformed who I am. He has given my world more meaning and purpose than ever before, and I will be eternally grateful for the miracle of his life on this earth. We are fighting from a place of LOVE (1 Corinthians 16:14). And love wins; every time. Theodore has taught me that life does not have to be perfect to be beautiful. I’m not waiting for a profound moment to “feel blessed”; to “have joy”; or to “give back”; I’ll be sowing prayers for others, and not just for my son (Luke 6:38) …I refuse to wait when my harvest is sitting right in front of me, ready to be gathered. It’s hard work, but sometimes blessings are heavy to carry. And as the nurses continue to find any excuse to enter Teddy’s room and marvel at his exponential growth, I can only smile and think that the best fertilizer for ‘growth’ is always ‘love’. #LoveGrows #LoveNeverFails
-️ Momma Bear, Praying Isaiah 53:5
TEDDY BEAR PRAYER:
I pray that God would continue to shift my heart, to not only focus on my own needs, but to recognize the similar needs that surround us every day, in every single CICU bed at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital; and to even better realize other people’s needs all around me when I am home in Buffalo, NY. I pray for the ability to thank God through all the hardships; to continually look on the bright side of things and not live in fear of the future.
Please keep our ‘Teddy Bear’ in your prayers as he goes back to the operating room this morning for his chest closure. Jesus, please guide the hands of the surgeons and operating staff once again; please comfort my baby while I am not there. In Jesus Name, Teddy will not feel the pain and confusion associated with removing the paralytic medications and the slow weaning of other pain management. Please pray that Theodore’s lungs continue to heal and become stronger every day, allowing him to come off the ventilator much sooner than anticipated. I believe God is able to not only strengthen my baby’s right ventricle and bring the pressures back down to ‘8’, but God can mend his entire heart and make it whole again. And as always, I pray that Theodore will continue to defy all odds against him because our God has never lost a battle yet… AMEN & AMEN!