By Mom 2 Andre
Why me? If I only knew how life would have turned out when the day I learnt I was pregnant. I was told on numerous occasions that life would not be the same when you have a child. I accepted it with a smile because I believed that God blessed my life. I was looking forward to the time my little bundle of joy would be here, counting the days on the calendar, earmarking all the doctors’ appointments and ultrasounds that came along with the journey.
Nothing would have ever prepared me for February 12th, 2008. It was a phone call from my ob/gyn, telling me that my little one had an enlarged heart. I remember feeling numb all over, it was a feeling of total despair. What did I do wrong? How could I fix this? What did I do to deserve this. Why me?
Nothing would have prepared me for the birth of my first born. I was induced at 39 weeks of gestation. “It’s a boy!” everyone cried to me. “It’s a boy! Congratulations!” they said to me. I heard my little boy’s first cry; yes, the one I longed to hear from the time I knew I was pregnant. I cried with my husband, and he cried with me. We named him Andre Jacques. Minutes later, my eyes laid on my little treasure, head covered with his little hat, and tightly wrapped in the hospital receiving blanket. This moment only lasted for a few seconds. It was not fair, I thought. He was rushed to NICU, in case something was to happen with his heart. I suddenly felt sad. I wanted to be the first one to hold him like a new mother could. I was his mother after all. No one should not have been allowed to hold before I did. However, because of my c-section, I was only allowed to hold my son 12 hours later. I was mad. Why me?
Nothing would have prepared us for Andre’s first heart procedure, known as valvoplasty. We were waiting to see what happened, how he would develop during the first week of his life. At 6 weeks old, we were at the hospital for a routine echocardiogram. The next thing we knew, I was carrying Andre half dressed from one building to another. I was walking with tears rolling down my eyes. I saw people looking at me, wondering why I was crying. I finally reached the PICU. I laid Andre down on his bed. I stared at him from one corner of the room while nurses frantically hooked his little body to monitors. He looked very pale; his lips had no color. The next day, he was taken away from me for his first heart procedure, not knowing if I were to hold him ever again. His heart was in a bad shape. Why me?
Nothing would have prepared me for the phone call that I received from the cardiologist days later. He told me that the valvoplasty did not produce the outcome he was expecting. Open-heart surgery was in sight. I was in Andre’s bedroom, sitting on the computer chair. I put the phone down and all I could do is cry. I felt helpless. I would do anything for my little guy to avoid surgery. Why me?
Nothing would have prepared me for the last minutes with Andre before he was taken away from me once again. Totally sedated and ready for surgery, he did not know who I was; I could see it in his eyes. Sad images raced though my mind. What did I go wrong? Where did I fail? I wished my family were here. Why me?
Why Not Me? I have everything. I have a roof on my head. I have food on the table. I have clothes on my back. I have a good God. I am healthy. I have the best husband I can ever ask for. I have a supportive family. I became a mother on May 1st 2008.
Andre was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as severe Pulmonary Stenosis, Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation, and an enlarged right atrium. I became the mother I always wanted to be, one who would bond with my child at a different level that many would not have the chance to experience.
At 6 weeks old, Andre was in the hospital for his valvoplasty. I did not know if I was going to hold him ever again but I lived to be a mother for another 6 weeks.
At 3 months old, Andre was in hospital for his open-heart surgery. The cardiologist recommended that it were done earlier, but the surgeons advised to wait until he was 3 months old. Ideally, it should been a surgery better performed at 4 months old, but it was too risky to wait any longer. I lived to be a mother for another 2 ½ months.
Through this entire ordeal, I did not have to work a job outside the home. This meant I could be by Andre’s side 24/7/365 during his recovery.
With the medical expenses adding up to unimaginable figures, I had medical insurance to cover all the procedures that were required for Andre.
I live 15 miles north of the country’s best hospitals for pediatric cardiac care.
I have access to great support from the CHD community.
I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. We may not understand it right away, but all I know that each of us has a God given destiny.
I believe that we are the chosen ones to deal with these difficult situations because we can.
I believe that remaining thankful for everything throughout difficult times keeps our heart from allowing anger to stay and develop into bitterness.
I believe that new purposes arise from difficult times.
I once believed in “why me?” Along with extremely difficult experiences with Andre, a new purpose in my life has emerged. Today, I am able to help others through their time of difficulty. I now ask a new question: “Why not me?”