February 16th, 2004 will always be a special day for our family. For my husband and me it was the best and worst day of our lives. It was the best day because it was the day the surgeons at UCSF saved our one-week old son’s life by doing open heart surgery. It was the worst day because it was the day we had to put his life in their hands and hope & pray for the best. It was a day filled with worry and anxiety and fear of the unknown. It was a day of hope and prayer and being surrounded by friends and family.
Every year I have a difficult time around this anniversary. This year was no different. It started off innocently enough. I thought back to what was happening three years ago and thought how amazing it is that we are where we are know. Drew is a happy, mostly healthy, sweet, loving, active little boy. But then all of a sudden all the feelings from that time come back to me. How scared we were. How out of control it felt. How shocking it was to hear the day after he was born that he wasn’t a perfectly healthy baby. That we wouldn’t be bringing him home anytime soon. That our tiny little baby was going to be frozen, cut open, put on a heart lung machine, and sewn up again. That he would have a machine to breathe for him, have all kinds of tubes and IVs and blood draws, that he would be kept in the pediatric cardiac ICU for many weeks.
As I look back on this time it is always with mixed emotions. We are extremely grateful that the surgeons were able to save his life. That he was able to come home from the hospital with us. We have met parents in the hospital that were not so lucky. We are thankful for all the good that has come out of this situation, for the wonderful friends and family we had to support us during this devastating time. But we also mourn the loss of a healthy child. It’s not fair that he has to have so many blood tests and Dr. appointments. I don’t want to have to endure another open-heart surgery. I don’t want to hear him tell me that it hurts, that he wants to go home and there will be nothing I can do to fix it. How many parents can really say that there was a time when they didn’t know if their child would live or die? We have wondered that too many times already. But he is still with us! And we are so grateful for the gift he is to our family.
I would just like to thank everyone in our lives who has been a support to us. We couldn’t have made it this far without you. We thank you for standing by us in the good times and bad, for letting us cry when we need to, and reminding us what a miracle Drew is when we need to hear that. I hope that one day I will be able to look back at Magic Heart Day with mostly gratitude and thanksgiving and that there will be less sadness with each passing year.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from Drew's first three years. Happy Birthday Drew!