I can't stop staring at her! It's 1:30 am, she's sound asleep, and I'm exhausted! But like the nights following the birth of my other children, hanging over their bassinets in wonder long after the world had gone to sleep, I can't seem to help myself from trying to memorize every sweet detail of her precious face... Her rosebud lips are dry from her heart catheter today, but oh, so perfect! And her beautiful eyes... closed in sleep now, still show the unusual way they curve up at the ends, as if a makeup artist painted on this most beautiful asian detail! And the curve of her ears... I hadn't even noticed before now! She is cuddled warm and snug with the bunny Daddy brought her as she woke up in recovery this afternoon. Her cheeks are blushed with sweet pink and even her hands are warm and pink tonight... I lean down to hold her hand and to smell it... yes... to smell it! I want to memorize that too! I ran my hands through her beautiful, wavy black hair and gave her one final kiss on the cheek before finally turning out the lights to say goodnight to this most beautiful, miraculous day!
I am struck by the fact that though I met Rachel three weeks ago in China, I have not allowed myself to go to this place emotionally before tonight. It hadn't even occurred to me that I had somehow "skipped" over this mothering tradition with Rachel. Maybe it's because she's not the baby ordinarily stared at while sleeping, but a 7 year old little girl... Or maybe it's the way I have been unconsciously holding my breath for over five months... wondering if the baby I was "carrying" in my heart would live or die. But as I stare over the side of her hospital bed tonight, I realize that in many ways, in my Mommy heart... today was Rachel's "birth" day! Today it wasn't an OB/Gyn that announced the happy news, but a cardiologist. At about 3:30 pm, on Oct 5, 2011, Dr Fudge walked into a little office on the second floor of Shand's Hospital and delivered the most miraculous news this Mommy has ever heard... Rachel is OPERABLE! I hardly remember a word he said... My heart was pounding and I could hardly breathe... I tried to read his facial expressions... Did he seem happy or serious? I remember wanting to grab him and force him to blurt it out! Was there hope for Rachel or not???? Just say it!!! He started the very way you'd expect... "Everything went well with the cath today... no unexpected complications... Rachel did great..." (ENOUGH ALREADY!... say it!!!) He continued... "I was not able to perform the balloon on the clogged valve today, because the tissue was extremely thick in that area... and I considered trying to make a new opening all together, but it would have been very risky, so I called Dr Bleiweis (the surgeon) and he said that he would remove that tissue during surgery..." Did I just hear the word SURGERY??? I'm certain I did! Which means I heard little else! Praise be to God! Rachel is OPERABLE!
Long conversation followed regarding Rachel's very unique heart and the long term plans (YES... I said LONG TERM plans!) for her care! Eventually Rachel will likely need a heart transplant... but for now, plans are being made for surgery to improve the function of her heart and protect her lungs from further damage so that in the future she will have the option to have a heart transplant when necessary. What a beautiful word ~ OPTION! Filled with HOPE from the God who fashioned her unique little heart and preserved her precious life for this moment!
Doctors are astounded that Rachel is still alive today and that hope-filled options even exist for her! Apart from God... they didn't! But God!... (I feel as if I should type that again!) BUT GOD... has a plan for our precious Rachel Hope and somehow that plan includes ME! I am so immeasurably blessed to be the one she calls "Mommy"! So tonight... I'm letting the blessed news of hope sink in... and allowing myself a few sweet moments to begin memorizing the wonderful ways God fashioned my precious new daughter... and committing what life He gives~ to His glory!
Rachel's surgery is scheduled for Oct 24 at Shand's Hospital in Gainesville at 7am... But she is at the top of the "call" list, should there be a last minute opening on Dr Bleiweis' schedule. We are praying that there will be, as we are anxious to get through surgery and finally allow Rachel to get started with all the beautiful things that God has in store for her!... We covet your prayers for Rachel as she finally receives the life-giving surgery she's waited so long for!