It was at my routine 20-week ultrasound that Dan and I found out something was wrong with Elijah's heart. I will never forget sobbing on our living room couch, Dan's arms wrapped around me, wondering what was in store for our precious unborn baby boy. It was one of my saddest, scariest moments.
I scoured the internet for information and support. I found a lot of really scary things, but I also discovered some awesome blogs that were written by parents walking very similar paths as ours. They, too, were scared, uncertain, wanting to understand and wanting to be understood.
In the years that followed, as Elijah's story unfolded and as he accumulated more surgeries and time in the hospital, my connections with my fellow heart parents grew stronger. My love for them and their precious heart kids grew, as well, as they endured similar experiences as our family. My heart broke for all of them because I knew the pain. And I know their hearts broke for us, too, when we were the ones in the trenches.
These people, most of whom I have not yet met, have supported and loved our family through some of our darkest times. In many ways, I feel like I am closer to them than anyone else because of the uniqueness of the experiences we have endured "together." There is an intensity in the tears we have all shed for and with one another. Tears of happiness and sadness and relief and anger and pain and uncertainty and joy and frustration. That intensity, I believe, is extremely unique and bonds us closely together.
I would not be the mom, or even the person, I am today without these heart parents and their awesome kids, who have encouraged me and inspired me over the years beyond anything words could ever explain.
And so, I am packing up my own heart kid and his sweet little bro, and I am driving to the doorsteps of (the eastern sector of) these awesome families. I hope they are ready for hugs, and maybe a few tears. And I hope they know what amazing things they have all done for me over the past seven years.