Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I find myself humming this song these days: 

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below; 
Praise him above, ye heavenly host; 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 

It wasn't until I completed all the last minute tasks on the day we were discharged that I sat on the edge of our bed and took time to stop and reflect. On my dresser Sylvie's monitor once again softly hummed while Emeline quietly slept in her room down the hall. Full beds. Full beds again.

I sobbed. For the first time since the nurse announced we could return home the joy, the relief, the gratitude shifted away from laughter and smiles. Never before have I been more thankful that all four of us were together again, in the same house, at the same time.

The times of want help us cherish the times of plenty. 

I've never ended my day in this way--in utter and complete thanksgiving. The kind of gratitude that causes the most reserved and casual among us to fall upon knees before the One from whom all blessing flow.

I've spent so much time relaying prayer requests and endless details leading up to and through Sylvie's recovery. I would be remiss not to include all the reasons I praise him these days.

So many blessings...

a baby with a repaired heart
a big sister with a tender heart
my favorite, my Shawn who held my heart as we walked this road together
a carafe once again full of enough coffee for myself and Shawn on any given morning
the sound of Emeline playing in the tub upstairs, while Sylvie chatters on her blanket downstairs
Sylvie's small face in the rear-view mirror as we traveled home
affordable and available medications lined up on the window sill
Did I mention full beds?
giggles shared between sisters
meals brought to our doorstep
gifts for Emeline as friends and family remembered the toll of this experience upon on her
a surgery that happened as scheduled
excellent nurses Patty, Rebecca, Christine, and Tanya
Dr. Turrentine's able hands
patient and proficient Nurse Practitioners Aimee and Trina
too many butterflies to count
verses about strength and peace written on ribbon rings
a baby waking up at night
little hands in mine
little arms wrapped around my neck
"I miss yous" and "I love yous"
dirty diapers
dirty laundry created by busy, healthy bodies
play dates for Emeline
the spiderweb of lines that kept her alive post surgery...
watching them slowly disappear
the narcotics that kept her pain-free while she recovered...
no longer needing them for a smiling, happy baby
a scar
off the ventilator in the OR
watching two teeth appear
a fussy baby
the prayers, the prayers, the prayers!
a blocked tear duct that quickly alerted us to an ear infection weeks before surgery...
and a quick recovery thanks to early detection
Jessica, the mom who went before me and prayed us through it
sweet baby MEM and the hope of her successful TOF repair
no Tet spells!
the pediatrician who first heard her heart swishing and ordered an echo
our cardiologist who has walked with us through this confidently, patiently, and expertly
no unforeseen heart anomalies
a calm and easily consolable baby pre-surgery
experiencing the power within the Body of Christ
claiming the biggest, healthiest baby on the floor of the Heart Center as my own
living fifteen minutes away from the hospital
medical insurance
surpassing surgery weight
no complications 
typical development
living in a time when a TOF repair is available and rarely unsuccessful--this was not always the case
Dr. T was able to save her valve
no pacemaker necessary
gentler central line dressings for sensitive skin
encouraging emails and messages
text messaging as a link to the outside world
snacks brought to us while we waited
inexpensive cafeteria food
friends who sat with us
knowing how to pray for the parents sitting in the day surgery waiting room (difficult to miss from the glass elevators)
the Ronald McDonald House with snacks, drinks, meals, and a patio to eat al fresco
luxurious shower heads in the Ronald McDonald House bathrooms
pennies to throw into the pool
red wagons for Emeline to ride in
a hospital library
new, soft PJs for a second-born child
sweet reunions with Emeline every other night; we would laugh our way to bedtime
no infections
Purell to keep infections at bay
clear chest x-rays
a hospital playroom for Emeline
air-conditioned rooms for recovery
ability to afford the parking garage fees
enough vacation days for Shawn to be bedside
family to care for Emeline full-time
simple prayers for a little sister
Emeline's heightened sense of family
bottles that crowd my counter space and dishwasher
shared meals
scratchy hospital towels
100% oxygen levels
a sense of relief
the lightness of life post-surgery
finally hearing a clear, strong, beautiful 'thump' through the stethoscope

...and more that I am, sadly, forgetting

and many more that hindsight has yet to reveal...


  1. With the cutting of teeth and the renewal of her heart, Sylvie has found her voice and emotions. Our always calm and peaceful baby of five months is now only sometimes calm and peaceful and often quite a complainer (no clue where she gets it). If she had screamed and cried like this a month ago, we would have been completely beside ourselves with worry about tet spells. Not that's easy now, but we can almost shrug it away with a hey, she's a 6mo baby, what do you expect?

    To add even more to this imposing list, as I recall, the nurses heard the murmur first. We only learned this later because they discretely passed the info along to the doctors, who informed us of the ordered echo and let Dr. Cordes, the cardiologist, break the news to us. He was perfect for the job with his comprehensive knowledge and steady manner and had us as at ease as possible from the moment he pulled up a chair and started drawing pictures. It was all handled perfectly gently and tactfully. Given some of our later interactions with nurses who are not on the list above, I don't think that would always be the case.

  2. what a precious list. you've got me in tears. a few that were touching to me were:
    1. dirty diapers, idk, but... its nice to clean them up!
    2. a baby waking up in the night - Quinn was crying so hard in the night last night and I got to be the one to get up. it was sweet time with my baby boy. i know what you mean.
    3. purell - that one made me laugh!
    shawns post about the nurses was touching too. i remember my good nurses and our good doc also.
    i thought this list would be longer, but, praise God... I must go, I have babies to care for...

    1. Love it Betty! I thank God he gave you babies to care for! Amen!