Since coming home from the hospital it has been a bit of a whirlwind! I would have loved to have posted more pictures throughout the past days, but the past few days have not been anything like we ever thought. But more than ever, we are proclaiming God’s amazing grace. I know that is a phrase that you hear me say all too often, but there is a reason why we felt Mazy Grace was the perfect name for her!
The delivery could not have gone any better! I still plan on sharing that story, but there is another story developing and road we did not necessarily expect to be traveling on so soon. When we arrived home this past Thursday, as the night wore on, I started to not feel very good. Very sluggish, weak, short of breath, and had an incredible amount of swelling. I am no problem at delivering so I safely assumed that this was all normal. Though when I realized that I couldn’t lay down and sleep, even sitting up in a recliner made it difficult to breathe, I knew something wasn’t quite right. Because of all my past health issues, I am thankful to know my body well enough and be alarmed when something isn’t quite right. I called my OB and whenever a heart patient says “shortness of breath” you are guaranteed an appointment within the day. You could call those the magic words!
I saw an internal med doctor and she found it odd that I was retaining so much water. She sent me to get some labs done and within a few hours, I received a call from her that the diuretics she prescribed to help me get rid of the water, were essential. The number was supposed to be 125 or less – mine was in the 2,000s. Yes, you are reading that correctly. My numbers were through the roof and it was effecting so much more than just my heart. I couldn’t wait to get home and start taking the diuretic pills, in hopes of feeling better quickly.Meanwhile, Dan got his first experience of giving Mazy a bottle (her first one EVER) as she started to fuss while I was in my appointment. Of course multiple women, including a nurse, the doctor, and receptionist, all came up and asked Dan if he needed anything, as he tried to make up a bottle while holding her. I am breastfeeding, but did not pump yet, so took some formula along for the “just in case”. I told him there is something about a man holding a baby – a 3 day old baby – and women’s hearts melt over something like that, so to continue to expect it!
As Friday night went on, I did not sleep well at all, and by 6:30AM, I woke up Dan, and through tears, told him that something just wasn’t right. The doctor on Friday said that if I did not start to feel better, that I had to go to the ER. The thing is, Mazy was supposed to have a wellness checkup at 9:20 at my doctor’s office that morning, so I decided to try and hang on until then, and bypass going to the ER.
When we arrived at her appointment, she thankfully was SUCH a champ! I mean who likes being stripped down to just their diaper and prodded at? Well, she just kept taking it, just showing the doctor her big blue eyes! She passed all her tests (she did fail the hearing test in one ear at the hospital), and only lost 7 ounces since her birth. She is extremely healthy and we are so thankful! After our discussions about Mazy, the doctor dug more into my situation and decided that I needed a stronger diuretic because I needed to get rid of the fluid. It just is not healthy to carry around what he thinks are at least 5-6 lbs. of excess water weight this long after birth. He also was concerned with my heart situation and was able to do an on-demand (as he called it) heart ECHO, which we headed over to the hospital for.
I was so tired that I actually fell asleep 3 times on the ECHO table and had to apologize to the technician for startling like a baby when someone opened the door! You could tell she was laughing inside, but understood the circumstances. A cardiologist was able to read the results and the doctor called me within a few hours with the results. As he put it, my “pump” (the actual heart) looks great and is functioning normally, but the mitral valve is “toast” (in his words). He said it tanked and is not swishing any of the right blood, and whether that is due to all the swelling or not, it is not functioning properly. We were a little caught off guard with this news, but we were honestly relieved when he said it was not heart failure, which is something we feared. A mitral valve issue is something that can be fixed. Unfortunately, that means another possible heart surgery. Am I looking at open heart surgery? We do not know. I have to call this week to set up an appointment with my heart doctor in Minneapolis to determine a course of action. We are praying that if the swelling goes down, the functioning of the mitral valve is better, but we won’t know until the swelling goes down.
The doctor mentioned that it is something that might have to be taken care of sooner rather than later. We knew that me having a child could effect my mitral valve, but we just didn’t expect it to appear in this way and so sudden. We are hoping that if heart surgery is needed, that maybe robotics could be considered, so that they do not have to open me up again. And we pray that God would yet again heal that valve! He did it once and we believe He can do it again! I just want to be able to take care of Mazy to the fullest without being held back by a heart surgery; especially if it has to happen soon. We hope to find out more this week.
So it has been a bit of a whirlwind since coming home on Thursday, but we look back at the last few days seeing God’s AMAZING GRACE in so many ways! Why these symptoms didn’t show up at the hospital, we don’t know. I am so thankful that my parents have been here this weekend! They were able to help with Mazy and around the house, as I was not feeling well. Yes, the mitral valve is probably toast, but at least my heart is healthy – what grace! The mitral valve can be fixed, unlike congestive heart failure, which was one concern about me getting pregnant. Mazy is as healthy as can be, which makes this mother’s heart so at peace. I was able to have Mazy naturally and experience such an amazing birthing process. Dan and I said, before we knew the test results, that if God would allow us to only have one child, we would be content because our experience was such a beautiful experience. I was told by the doctor that yes, Mazy might be our only one, but God graciously gave us such an emotional experience that if indeed we now can only have one, our hearts are at peace. Only God!
As we stare at Mazy, thinking about what a miracle she is to us, we continue to shed tears. Her being in our arms, fulfills so many hopes and dreams. God has used her to reassure us of the goodness of God and His loving hand on our lives. We realize that even though the past few days were nothing like we ever expected, we look back and realize that she is a healthy baby girl and that I survived a natural birth – something that in the past, was in question. God’s grace flowing yet again!
We continue to just take it a day at a time and know that in all situations, God’s promises still hold true in Psalm 37:4 (the verse hanging in Mazy’s room): Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
That verse continues to offer hope and peace. No matter what my future may hold, we still delight in Him, the author and perfecter of our faith, and know that He has graciously given us a child that we desired for so many years. Great is HIS faithfulness!