We made it through Christmas and the ski trip as a family. Leaning on each other when one of us were low, holding the others hand, praying for Elijah, praying for more strength, praying for healing, crying on the others shoulder, and holding everyone tighter. January 2012 came and with the new year came the Multi Disciplinary conference. Again this is where Ron and I sit with the leading Pediatric Cardiologists, Head of Obstetrics, Social workers, etc. There is a board room filled with unknown people and we only know the OB specialist who diagnosed Elijah. Residents, nurses and doctors sit in with us to discuss what our plan of action is. Another part of the new year is the loss of Ron’s Grandma “Sido”, just two days before the conference. Life is just piling things higher and higher for us.
It is the day of the conference and Ron has left work early and picked me up. We head to Beaumont hospital where we are having the conference, and hold hands as we walk in. I have to have another Fetal Echo that day because they wanted some better pictures of Elijah’s little heart. As his picture comes up on the TV screen in front of me I feel the love filling my heart. He is moving all over and has his little hand resting on his head. This baby is amazing to be growing with half of heart, he is my true miracle. When the Ultrasound is over we escorted into the board room. I have no idea what to expect, but when we walk in it all feels so real and the tears immediately start rolling down my face. The doctors look a little shocked by my quick response. Ron holds my hand as the social worker brings me a box of tissues. I pull myself together and remember praying for God’s strength again. I also remember thinking how often lately I pray this prayer. Introductions go around the table and it is a total of 10 professional and the two of us. It feels very similar to a group interview. I feel like I am being sized up, can she handle this, will she be strong enough to love a sick baby, will she be able to handle her baby having three surgeries in two years, will she be able to take care of him at home, is she mentally ready for what lies ahead???? The pressure is mounting and they go over Elijah’s Diagnosis again, which I have studied inside and out in the two weeks leading to this day. After they ask if we have questions. Ron is not like me in this way he waits to hear what the doctors say, or waits for me to give him the information. I have explained this to Ron and we have no questions.
Next the head of Obstetrics hands it over to the Cardiologist where she explains the treatment of Elijah. She tells us the surgery and treatment options, she is kind and warm and makes me feel safe, and cared for. When she is done The head of OB takes it back and then explains the three options we have.
- We deliver Elijah and he under goes a triple set of open heart surgeries. The 1st at 3 days old, the 2nd at 6 months and the 3rd around 2-3 years of age. Each surgery is extremely dangerous but if he makes it through all three he has a good chance to live. Or to live into his twenties where he may have to have a heart transplant in order to live.
- To deliver Elijah and do no major medical intervention and watch him slowly die. This is called compassionate care.
- To abort Elijah. This is considered a late term abortion because I am 21 weeks along now.
As the words come I am sobbing, and thinking “abortion” I can not do that!!!! Ron knows immediately why I am sobbing and very strongly and assertive he tells the doctors that abortion is not an option. He tells them to never ask that again. He is so aggressive in our behalf he tells them to put it in the file so it never happens again. I am relieved and add another reason why I love my husband so much to my list, thank you God for this man! We know the 2 options left for us and we know we want our baby to live. We have hope a fix will come in the future and Elijah can grow past his twenties and have a family and grow old. We have Faith.
In the end we leave the conference with a plan and again drive to Lansing after a long day at the hospital. We have to get to Lansing for Sido’s visitation and funeral. More prayers for loss, prayers for healing, prayers for our family, prayers for more strength. No room for breathing, only room for moving forward with what is on our pile. Moving forward for our children, family, and love.