One year ago today, everything changed. There are moments in all of our lives that get bookmarked permanently. Our lives are then divided into the “Before” and “After”. The day my son was diagnosed with a CHD, in utero, is one of these dividers.
I had been to my anatomy ultrasound a few weeks prior. My husband had taken time off work to be there with me. I was told they wanted to redo the ultrasound with better equipment at a different clinic, because they weren’t able to get good pictures of his heart. Nobody gave any indication that anything was wrong at this point, but I had my normal anxieties.
The day – this day, one year ago – that I went in for the second ultrasound, I tried to quell my fears. Many people reassured me that it’s normal for the little ones to be wriggly and move around too much, and that it was probably nothing. Don’t worry – I always say this is like saying “Don’t be Holly” – still, I tried.
I went by myself to this appointment. The ultrasounds are long, and Arif had just taken a morning off work a few weeks back. Neither one of us thought we would be getting any results this day, because they had also had us make an appointment with a maternal fetal medicine specialist the next day (In hindsight, this should have been a bigger clue that it was not nothing).
When the radiologist came in and said there was something wrong with my son’s heart (I have no idea the words she actually used), I am almost sure I went into a state of shock. I remember she went on to explain a little bit. I know, now, she told me it was Tetralogy of Fallot, but at the time, I just remembered it sounded french. I literally feel like I couldn’t understand a word she was saying after her initial declaration. She asked if I had any questions – how could I have questions when I couldn’t even breathe? When I couldn’t wrap my head around anything that was being uttered?
I waited until the ultrasound tech and radiologist left the room before I burst into tears. I called Arif and told him he needed to uber down to get me, because there was no way I could see to drive myself home. I can only imagine the heartache and panic he must have felt, having to hear those words over the phone from his crying, heartbroken wife.
It has been a wild ride since that day. Most of the roller coaster you have been able to read about in this blog. I have learned to be as transparent as I can be, because, largely, I want all of you to know how congenital heart defects affect people. I was so unaware and so clueless before this became my life.
I wasn’t expecting this date, June 18th, to affect me as it has been. For ten days now, I have struggled with the anniversary of diagnosis day coming. Much like my body, my heart, my mind knows when the anniversary of my brother’s death is approaching; so, too, did my soul know that this significant day drew near.
It has been a helluva year. I have felt every emotion more intensely than ever before. It has been simultaneously the most heartbreaking, most joyous, most frustrating, most courage-building, most terrifying, most reaffirming, MOST…year.
And we haven’t even had a single open heart surgery.