Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More Than I Dared Hope For

I remember the first morning after Cam was born, once the fog from the drugs I was given during my emergency C-Section had lifted, once I could think clearly, having a moment with my son that is captured forever in my memory. As the first rays of sun began to stream through my hospital room, I picked up my son and sat in the chair next to the window. Filled with wonder, amazed at this child that had come from deep within me, I knew a love that was beyond anything I had every experienced. His ten fingers and toes, his wispy hair, long eyelashes, soft sighs, I traced his sweet face, in awe of this miracle of life in my arms, my son. Two days later we were devastated at the news of his heart defect. My world had come crashing down in one sentence. It was the deepest loss I have faced in my life, the loss of this idea of a perfect child that I and so many other expectant parents cling to so dearly. It would take years for me to come to terms with Cam's heart, years to reconcile my love for my son with my fears of losing the child I loved so deeply.

The past eight years have been filled with surprises, heartaches, unexpected and planned surgeries and joy beyond compare as I have watched my son grow. After his second surgery there was the prognosis of no more surgeries and complete recovery followed by a reversal one month later when we saw his cardiologist for a post surgery checkup. Cam would need a new pulmonary valve, followed by another and another as he outgrew each subsequent valve. I learned to let go, to face the unknown with strength, to enjoy each day of his life and mine as we forged ahead.

So each time we have gone in for a checkup I have braced myself for the worst, knowing the next surgery could be closer than we anticipated. The checkups have ranged from every week during the first months of Cam's life, to once every six months following his last surgery, that was the best we could hope for his cardiologist advised. Two weeks ago we headed out to meet with his cardiologist again. Hoping that nothing had changed, that he was holding steady, and not progressively getting worse. Instead we were shocked to find out that Cam's heart is growing, adjusting, for the first time healing itself, giving him the gift of time. So, the view has shifted with surgery perhaps 10 years or more out. Options have emerged with the possibilities of ballooning and stents rather than another valve. Cam may be well into his teenage years before we face another tough decision, another surgery, more hospitalization. For the first time checkups have now been pushed to once a year rather than weekly or monthly. Quite an amazing new development in what has been a remarkable and adventurous life thus far. They say having a child changes your life forever, but I had no idea what challenges would lie ahead of us when Cam entered my world. My life has been shaped by the experiences of being his mother and I wouldn't change a has been more than I dared ever hope for that first moment when I fell in love with my son.

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