Dr. V was Samuel's amazing pediatric cardiologist, and we first saw him when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Samuel. I saw him monthly throughout my pregnancy, and then we saw a good deal of him at Northside and Egleston once Samuel arrived. He was always full of genuine kindness, compassion, gentleness, and humiilty. We liked him from the start, and our admiration only grew throughout Samuel's life and since. Since Samuel's death, we have seen him twice. He came to the funeral, which was incredibly kind of him, and we visited him for Samuel's birthday, taking tins of cookies and our thanks. I was looking forward to seeing him again, the face I associate with Samuel more than almost any other. And I was hoping that this time he would have good news for us.
It was a little strange to be back in his office again, to be a patient once more in a pediatric cardiologist's suite. And being there brought back a lot of memories for me and Bryan. We both washed our hands while we were there, and Bryan was struck by the smell of the soap. Once I smelled my hands, I realized it was the exact soap that Egleston uses, and both of us were flooded with memories. Since we washed our hands endlessly while at the hospital, we perpetually smelled like that soap during Samuel's life, and it's impossible for us to separate the smell from our son and his life at the hospital. When we were leaving and were in the underground parking garage, I moved my hand in front of my face and got a strong whiff of the soap. My stomach turned immediately, and I got the shivers that accompany a bad association. I couldn't help but feel like we were leaving our Samuel once again, that we were headed home to sleep for the night and knew our baby was sick as could be upstairs, and who knew what would happen in the night. Leaving Samuel was always the worst for us. We had to tear ourselves away every night, and I even felt that way leaving his side to go eat a meal or run to the bathroom. Bryan and I, though especially Bryan, were surprised by how much our trip to Dr. V's churned up.
Once we got in to the echo room, and the tech, Michelle, started the echo of Beauty's heart, I was ready to know if everything was alright. Michelle said Beauty was cooperating beautifully, and she was able to get every picture she needed without any trouble, something Bryan and I had prayed for. After twenty minutes or so of looking and taking pictures, she went to get Dr. V. Dr. Videlefsky had already popped his head in and greeted us and told us how glad he was to see us and how he hoped he would be able to give us good news. When he came in to look at the pictures, he talked us through everything he saw -- four strong chambers, no holes in the ventricular wall, normally related great vessels, etc, etc. In my mind I was ticking possible problems off of a list. Once he went through all the pictures, he said, "She is absolutely beautiful, absolutely perfect. There is nothing questionable about her heart. Her heart is absolutely normal." I had tears streaming down my face. He went on to say that you can never be 100%, but he saw nothing to cause him any concern whatsoever, he could see everything he needed to see, and there was nothing to even rouse a question in his mind. There is no reason for us to see him again during my pregnancy unless I feel anxious and want him to take another look, which he would be glad to do. He also said he will look at Beauty and do an echo of her heart once she is born just to be extra safe, but that he is confident she has a healthy heart. He delivered this news with conviction, confidence, and a definite sense of absolute. It was more than I even knew to hope for.
I was teary during his whole delivery and kept wiping away my tears. I worked hard not to turn into a blubbering idiot, at which I succeeded. :) Bryan sat beside me, squeezing my hand and being misty-eyed. We were overjoyed. And it was evident to us that Dr. V was nearly as thrilled to finally be able to give us good news as we were to receive it. We walked out praising Jesus for answering our prayer.
We are both a little overwhelmed by the good and hopeful news. We know God gets all the credit and glory for it, and we are humbled by His kindness. But the truth is, He would be no less good if we had gotten bad news yesterday. He would be no less worthy of our praise and thanks and bowed hearts. He has been good through the valley, and He will be good on the mountain top as well. He is King of both our sorrow and our joy. And I am speechless with thanks for who He is -- and for this daughter of ours, kicking me as I type.
So, now comes the joy of planning for Beauty without the constant question of "will she..." I am sure there will still be some "will she" questions, like will she have healthy lungs? will she really have a perfectly healthy heart? and will she really grow up in this house with us all taking care of her and holding her and loving her? But the frequency of those questions will diminish. And we can get her room ready and carseat bought and worn out baby items replaced and her name picked without the nagging fear that it is all pointless. So, thank you, Jesus, for our baby girl and for her health. We are overwhelmed with gratitude and anticipation. Thank you!