Saturday, August 01, 2015

Mavery's Heart Surgery

This morning I read back over my blog from 2009, Mavery’s first heart surgery with us.

We have come so far.

Right before we left for the hospital

Yesterday at 3AM (July 31st) my alarm went off to prepare for heart surgery #2 with us. (first was done in China, 2nd was done January 2009.)

I walked in my door from China at 11:30PM Wednesday evening, the 29th.

This was not the ideal timing situation, obviously, but it was the only time that worked with the surgeon.

So far so good, smiling before! 

Mavery was very excited for surgery.  She can remember her heart catheritzations and that memory includes presents, room service and mom sleeping with her at the hospital.

I will take excited over tears.

They took her back right about 7AM giggling and said she was giggling all the way into the OR. Love that calming medicine and just can’t understand why they don’t throw us parents an extra dose!

Surgery went well, she was in recovery quicker than we imagined (in reality it was hours but went fast with a roomful of family and friends waiting with us)

They told me they were trying to take out her breathing tube (really, already?) and would bring me her blanket, then giving me an idea when I could see her. Probably another hour.

Over an hour later they came out to say there was a problem.  She was bleeding and so they had to OPEN HER BACK UP.

Here is the good thing about surgery a day after you get back from China. You are in a huge jet lag fog and so when they tell you they have just cut your child’s chest open for the 2nd time, have put her on the by pass machine AGAIN your only coherent thought is “God, she is in your hands and I trust you”.

She came through this 2nd surgery and we finally laid eyes on her about 10 hours after we kissed her goodbye that morning.

Our first glimpse after. 

By midnight the breathing tube was out and she was asking for food.  She was not happy that they only gave her ice chips. Right before the tube came out she was so frustrated trying to communicate with me. No idea what she was saying but I tried as hard as I could to guess!

It is so hard when you just can’t fix it for your kids isn’t it?

As she was pleading with me through her eyes and I am trying to calm her down all while trying not to sob I just kept thinking over and over, Thank you God she is alive!

Tube is out! 

I remember her first surgery; 3 months home and the paralyzing fear that God had brought her home for just a little while. I was so scared He was going to make me say goodbye after I had barely said hello.

When you send your child back in for another surgery you still get those crazy thoughts. WHAT IF? (Kind of like every time I fly and I imagine the plane going down!)

But this time I was filled with more peace than that first surgery. Mavery has taught me SO much in the 7 years she has been home.  She gets EXCITED over surgery. She doesn’t complain, she just fights hard to move on.

When I first saw Mavery on a waiting child list in 2007 I fell in love. God spoke to my heart so clearly and I had no doubts she was going to be my daughter. Mark was scared that her heart condition would mean she would not live. We had her file reviewed and they said typically that condition is minor so in faith we moved forward believing her heart would be no big deal.

And of course it was a very big deal. It is not a fixable heart condition that goes away. It is an ongoing broken heart that will forever need checked and monitored. She is ok, it could be SO much worse. But it is not something that we can ever ignore or pretend is not there.

Surgery 2009

I think back on that day I first saw her face and Mark’s fears.  I see SO clearly God’s plan.

IF we had known it was so serious, we would have been to scared to move forward.

IF China had known she had a huge aneurysm on her heart (they never did a recheck after her first surgery) I am not so sure she would have been adoptable. My guess is they would have just left her for a while and that aneurysm (per her doctor could have exploded any moment) would have killed her.

I pray that Mavery ALWAYS sees God’s hand on her life. I pray that I can continue to grow and be more like Mavery, excited over the challenges and facing the future with my arms thrown open wide with a smile on my face.

The night before surgery Mark wrote a post on Facebook. I pray it touches your heart as you hear from a Daddy’s heart how much he loves his baby girl, and I pray that you know you have a Heavenly Father that loves us even more than this.  

As I was praying for Mavery's heart surgery this morning I felt compelled to write something about how she has taught our family so much and stretched us more than anyone. . This will be a little long but this is therapy for me as much as anything. Mavery came to us as a sad and broken three year old. If you have spent anytime in a Chinese orphanage you would know why. In the beginning, our emotions were strong and we were going to be perfect parents. She would come home and everything would be great. She immediately had to have open heart surgery which I think broke her just a little more. After 6 months to a year, reality set in. She was driving us crazy by doing things just to make us angry, being mean to the other kids, screaming all the time, and the other kids were resenting her (except Sage who always loved her no matter what). Shannon was in tears most days, On the darkest days I remember wondering if we made a mistake. Would our family fall apart? However, we made the decision just like God did for us that we would love her unconditionally. Our emotions would not control us, she is our child, and we would do whatever it takes. We did get counseling help which helped explain that her actions were her trying to control her world. If she could make us angry then she was in control. We just kept loving her and she has slowly blossomed. She is now 9 and is the most giving of our children. If there is one piece of cake left, toy, candy, etc..., and you did not get any she will gladly give you hers (actually she will insist). When we adopted Syler and we had to send him to school with very little English, we chose Mavery because we knew she had that nurturing instinct and would take care of him. She gladly did. She has a huge smile and everyone she meets loves her. She is hilarious. Everything is not perfect. She still has a lot of sensory issues and she is completely unpredictable. You don't want to make her mad because she can still give out the most viscious tongue lashing in the house (although if I ever had to go to war she would be my first choice). We as humans always wonder why God does not just make things easy. Our journey with Mavery is a perfect example of why. He wanted to change our hearts and to teach us to love just a little more like he loves us. Without Mavery, I would never have adopted two more kids at once with one being an older child because I saw first hand with Mavery what God cn do, I am thankful for Mavery and trusting that God will take care of my baby girl tomorrow. Also, please be in prayer for our friendKarl Nowak and family. They are adopting two in Latvia and probably experiencing the fear those first few days can bring when you wonder if you can handle this.


Anonymous said...

Tears are flowing! So beautifully said!


Anonymous said...

So glad she is doing well after two surgeries rolled into one day. I have the blessing of reading Shannon's words often....but very thankful to read Mark's thoughts today. Hang in there! God is certainly holding your entire family in the palm of his hand. Love, Brenda