One year ago today was a very big day for all of us. It was the day we found out that you were going to live. It was quite a shock, since we had been told with such certainty that you would die very young. And, we had a lot to prepare for, with scheduling your open-heart surgery. I felt “behind,” because up until that point, we hadn’t really thought much about the fact that you had Down syndrome. Now, I needed to research and learn as much as I could in order to be the best mommy I could be for you. But, at the end of the day, your daddy and I couldn’t stop smiling and cuddling you. It was the best news a parent could ever receive – Your son is going to LIVE!
We just happened to have family portraits scheduled for that afternoon. When I scheduled them, I was thinking, we need to get family pictures while we still have Matthew, and it made sense to combine a trip to Holly Perona’s studio* with your cardiology appointment in Spokane. Now, we have wonderful family pictures to commemorate the incredible day we learned you were going to live.
It’s hard to believe it was only a year ago . . . so much has happened since then, and you have come so far. You are such a different boy than the fragile and weak baby we had a year ago. But, you still have the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and you still melt my heart with your smile.
Here you are one year ago:
Only a few days later, you got really sick. I actually thought that we might lose you, but we hopped on a life-flight to Spokane, and you had emergency bowel surgery. There were so many people who loved you and who had been praying for you, that Uncle Ken helped set up this blog to keep them updated on your recovery and your progress. The very first post on the blog was from a year ago today:
We took Matthew back to the pediatric cardiologists for a follow-up evaluation of his heart. He had been doing so well – better than anyone expected him to do – we weren’t sure what to expect, but we needed to know what was going on with his little heart. His echocardiogram showed that miraculous healing has taken place in his heart! His aorta (the blood vessel that pumps blood to the entire body), which was only 2mm in diameter at birth, is now normal size. They saw no narrowing or restriction of flow whatsoever. Also, his left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) has grown to normal size. The ventricle was so small when he was born, doctors weren’t even sure it would be a ‘functional chamber.’ With these two major changes, Matthew is now a great candidate to have heart surgery to repair the other problems. It will be a big, complicated surgery, but the doctor is very confident that Matthew will do well and it will FIX his heart!
It is the best news we’ve ever heard – our son, who was dying, is now going to LIVE! His heart will be FIXED after the surgery! They don’t even expect him to need much on-going care afterwards. I will fill you in on the details of the surgery later, but the doctors have NO good explanation for these incredible changes in his heart. It truly is a miracle, and we want to thank everyone who has been praying for our family. We give all the Glory to God, and we’re excited to see what God has in store for Matthew!
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*Holly Perona is the talented, kind, and incredibly generous photographer who took pictures of Matthew in the NICU, then gave us this second family portrait session. She literally gave us all of the portraits, not charging us a cent for any of her work. We can’t thank her enough for all she’s done for us!
Holly is a member of the American Child Photographers Charity Guild. If you, or anyone you know, has a child with an uncertain future, you can visit their website to find a photographer near you who will capture priceless images of your beautiful child at no cost you you.