Today Bekah turns 4. I almost can’t believe it. Chris has gone to work, and Bekah and Sam are both still asleep. I have a million different things I should be doing.
Instead, I am laying in bed, typing this, thinking of how different my life was just 4 years ago.
At this very moment 4 years ago, Chris and I were still blissfully unaware that there was anything wrong with Bekah’s heart. We knew we had trouble getting pregnant, and had used an awesome infertility doctor.
We knew that we’d had a threatened miscarriage, and we knew that I was in labor, and that this baby was coming 5 weeks early and there was no way to stop it.
And then, a little after noon on a warm November Saturday, our lives began to change. It happened the regular way at first- we became parents. We had a baby girl. Her APGAR scores were great at birth. She let out a little cry, and all was right with the world.
And then everything changed. Her cry became weaker, and our world shifted. Within a few hours, she was fighting for her life, and we were fighting to understand what was happening, and why.
Over the last 4 years we’ve learned a lot about hospitals, doctors, friends, family, and each other. We’ve learned that sometimes you have to let go of the “why” things happen the way they do, and just take each moment for what it is.
While I can’t believe how much Bekah has grown in the last 4 years, even more surprising is how much I’ve changed.
Ten weeks in the NICU, 6 weeks home with a monitor and constant checkups, open heart surgery and a 10-day PICU stay aren’t something that has changed Bekah. Sure. They’ve shaped who she is. (She just found out a few months ago that not everyone has a scar on their chest…I didn’t think that was something I had needed to explain, but like most other little kids, she just assumes that everyone is like her.)
But overall, Bekah just sees her life as totally ordinary. It’s me who has changed.
In the last 4 years, I’ve seen the miracle of beautiful, healthy children born to friends (and our crazy Sam!), and I’ve seen equally beautiful “unhealthy” children too.
Kids who will have to struggle to do the things “normal” kids do without even thinking about it. I’ve changed the way I think about who those kids are, who their parents are, and the way they feel about life.
If I could go back 4 years and have a healthy, “normal” baby, would I? Never.
It’s not that I enjoyed watching her suffer, or that I would wish the agony of sitting beside her, totally helpless to help her or anyone.
But, all of those terrifying moments, they’ve taught me to look at the beauty in everything, to thank God for the mundane yet incredible things like wiping dirty hands for the zillionth time each day, to be thankful that there are places like Akron Children’s where people help to heal tiny broken hearts, (and those of their parents too!) and to really appreciate each minute of a spectacular little girl’s 4th birthday for what it is…the day a miracle exploded into into our lives without any warning, and changed our lives forever.