We found out in January 2004 that we were expecting our second child. We were so excited. Having a son already, we naturally were hoping for a girl this time...one of each...what could be better? We found out later in the pregnancy that we were expecting a baby girl. We picked out her name and began falling in love with her even in the womb. She was already special and a part of our family. Our son, Jason, wanted a little sister. We were worried about his reaction if we were to have a boy because he was determined that he wanted a baby sister. Her name was going to be Sarah Katherine Swan...and so it is.
She was born on September 21, 2004. We had the perfect pregnancy and had a scheduled c-section delivery due to the fact that I had already had a c-section with our son. We arrived at the hospital excited for the day. We went into the operating room and awaited those words..."You have a girl!" We did hear those words and saw a beautiful baby girl. She was then whisked away and I was transported to a recovery room. Several hours passed and we still hadn't seen her again. They just said they were really busy and I needed to rest and they would be bringing her in later. For a short bit, everyone got to see her through the windows of the nursery, but then they came in to wait for the nurses to bring her in and finally after so long our family decided to leave and they would return later. They said the nursery curtains were closed and they couldn't see her there either, so they would just come back later. Someone said there was a sick baby in the nursery and so they kept the curtains pulled.
Finally, the nurses brought her in to me and she was still not bathed. I questioned them and they said they were just busy. They knew something was wrong but didn't let on to me. We did notice that her hands and feet looked very blue. However, not being clean, we just thought it would go away after she was bathed. They took her after a few minutes and said they would bring her back to me later. They knew that Sarah had a severe heart murmur and they were waiting for the pediatrician to arrive and check her out. When he did, our family had finally returned. I had been moved to a regular room and everyone was there with me waiting for her arrival...including our son. In the midst of what was turning out to be a celebration, our pediatrician came through the door and delivered the news that they were going to be transporting Sarah to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. My husband and I were shocked and devastated. Houston is 2 hours away from us and so he and his mother were going to follow the ambulance and I had to stay in the hospital.
The next morning, Todd called me and told me that she was going to have to have heart surgery. I remember thinking "please let it wait until I can get there!" That was on Wednesday. I finally got released to go be with her and was there on Friday afternoon. I couldn't wait to get my hands on her. At this point, I had only held her for about 5 minutes. I got to the NICU and saw what I could have never prepared myself for. There was our baby, hooked up to wires and machines, looking so helpless. I felt helpless, but I had faith in God that we would pull through this and she would be fine. We moved into the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital and began a "new life" there. It was such a change in our routines to be somewhere completely foreign to us, both physically and emotionally. Immediately, people started praying for her and us. We were added to prayer lists everywhere.
She had a heart cath procedure on September 29, 2004, and then 2 days later, open heart surgery. We had a miraculous recovery period and were released from the hospital after only 10 days! We had to stay in a hotel for nearly a week before she had her first checkup and we were then released to go back to Lufkin where our home was. It was a joyous day to return home. We went back for checkups until April when we were told it was time for her next round of surgeries. She had a heart cath procedure on April 21, 2005, in which she got "heart block." This is where the AV node in her heart got touched and was more sensitive than most. It caused her heart rhythm to get off beat. After several days of recovery, we were once again released to go home. We went back home and when we returned to Houston for her first check-up, we were shocked. Her cardiologist did not like the way she was progressing and decided not to wait for the next surgery and to do it the next day. I left her at the hospital with my husband and headed back home to gather our things. I then left home to head BACK to Houston.
We were in for a long day the next day. They took her in for surgery and it was 9 hours of heart wrenching, prayerful tears as we awaited her recovery. Every hour, a nurse would come out of the operating room and tell us how she was doing. Finally, the surgeon came out and said she had done fine. She was in recovery and we would be able to see her in about 2 hours. We were so excited and relieved. We went to eat and then returned to see her. She looked great! We were told she would be really fussy and swollen and I told them..."You don't know her...she's going to prove you wrong." She did. Her nurse that was with her in the operating room walked by and said "You were right...she proved us wrong." She woke up in a decent mood and was hardly swollen at all! She looked great and made a terrific recovery once again. We were then put in a regular room, then out of the hospital into a nearby hotel again, then home, once more.
She is a blooming toddler now! Our precious little flower. Our daily reminder of what God can do. She is strong willed and determined in everything she does...which isn't always a good thing! When I got onto her for doing something that I told her "No-no", I said "She is so hardheaded!" to my husband...he just says "That's why she's here." He's so right. I'm so thankful for my little stubborn baby girl! She is a shining example of what life should be. She's been through it all and she runs and smiles and acts like nothing has ever gone wrong a day in her life. She amazes me and I can't wait to see the beautiful young woman she grows into. She will have to have surgery again when she's 4 or so years old. Our prayer is that she won't. I pray for her miracle every day. We've already received so many, I know it is possible. For now, I'm enjoying sharing her story with others to help them through tough times and hard situations. I made it through something I never would have dreamed I could handle. But with God, all things are possible and I've learned...if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it!