Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Heart That's Whole

My dear Kaden Layne...

Today is your birthday.  You would have been six.  Six. For some reason Mommy can hardly imagine what you would have been like as six year old.  Six just seems too far past the memories Mommy has of you as a sixteen month old.

Today, just like every year on your birthday, Mommy watched the video Daddy made of your last times with us.  Just like every year Mommy smiles remembering those happy times with you.  Mommy's smile fades to tears when I think of how much Mommy and Daddy loved you so much then.  The tears come when I think of how full our lives had once been.

It was Valentine's Day when Mommy and Daddy first took you home. Six years ago Mommy and Daddy's hearts were filled with the best kind of love. No Valentine was ever sweeter.  It was this time when Mommy's love for Daddy grew to a whole new level.  Mommy loved watching him love you in ways only a daddy can.  Mommy's heart was full, and I can imagine Daddy's was too.

When you passed away Mommy and Daddy felt lost.  We had so much love to give and you were no longer here to share it with.  In time, Mommy and Daddy reverted back to the days before you.  That was the only thing we knew to do. Our lives became consumed with one another once again but in a totally different way.   It seemed like Mommy and Daddy often took turns.  When Mommy was feeling down, Daddy was my rock.  When Daddy was having a difficult day, Mommy was there to understand.  Luckily Mommy and Daddy's days didn't overlap very often.  In many ways, this time of incredible sadness brought Mommy and Daddy closer together.  We had only each other to fully understand the depth of our grief and sorrow.

 Mommy &Daddy in the winter of 2010

Fast forward nearly a year. God blessed Mommy and Daddy with another chance.  Having your baby sister Layne gave us the chance to love like before. And love did we ever! Our hearts grew more whole with each passing day.

With just enough features to resemble you and a name perfect for the rainbow baby she had become for our family, Layne was the best gift God could have given us at the time.  Mommy and Daddy were so grateful.  We were beginning to feel like life could be good.  We were beginning to love again.  It was two weeks after she was born that we found out she was broken much like Mommy and Daddy.

It was a well-visit.  Dr. Knight, our pediatrician, listened with his stethoscope over and over.  He could hear it.  Mommy could tell he wasn't thrilled to share the news of what he heard.  After all, he knew all that Mommy and Daddy had been through with losing you unexpectedly. He knew how excited we were about having this new baby.  It wasn't what we expected to hear.  But as matter-a-fact as a doctor can be he told us.

Worry and concern consumed us.  Mommy and Daddy were given instructions on what to do next.  Tests were run and appointments were made with doctors from UK Children's Hospital.  All Mommy and Daddy could think was How could this be happening to our baby girl...after all we have been through? To us, this was nearly more than we could handle.

Ventricular Septal Defect was the diagnosis.  A hole in the heart.

Mommy thought it was pretty ironic. In some way Mommy thought this hole was God's way of recognizing that even Layne was broken hearted.  To Mommy it represented the love she might have experienced had you been here.  That hole, as small as it may have been in her tiny baby heart, represented the lost opportunities to make memories with a big sister.

Mommy and Daddy decided from the start it was important not to worry our families and friends.  We knew it might be difficult for everyone to treat Layne as a regular baby anyway given the circumstances. We agreed to keep all of this to ourselves...until now.

The prognosis was promising.  The doctors said we would first monitor it. Their hope was that with time it would close on its own.   If necessary, surgery could fix it.  Luckily after six months of ultrasounds, X-rays, and appointments with a pediatric cardiologist, the hole in Layne's heart closed on its own. Thankfully, time was all it took.

Mommy thinks back to all of this now as your baby brother turns six weeks old tomorrow.  If you are wondering, sweet girl, his heart is perfect.  :) As Valentine's Day approaches and Mommy thinks back to the gift God gave us on this day six years ago and the many blessings that have come in the time since, I can truly say my heart is near full again.  But for you, my sweet Kaden Layne, there will always be a little space left open for you.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl...

P.S.  Mommy found these videos of you as a newborn...Love you sweet girl!