I never really liked that color and today I was reminded again why.
As previously posted, my stress test was moved to today b/c of scheduling issues, so Dan and I headed up to G.R. for yet another appointment. This time it was at West Michigan Heart, a place I’ve never been to, but it was nice. I had my stress echo, it thankfully went well. I first had a resting echo done, then my stress echo, then another “resting” echo, though I was huffing and puffing for that one! They made me get my heartrate up to about 165 for a little bit and then quick lay down. Meanwhile you have to lay completely still while your heart feels like it’s going to jump out of your body :). But the nurses were great and it wasn’t too bad.
Then we had the meeting with my doctor afterwards to let us know the results. Gray. Gray was the answer. She said with my case, it will probably never be a black and white issue – it will always be gray, just b/c of my heart history and where my heart is now. My mitral valve leaking is confirmed to be in the moderate/severe stage. It’s not completely moderate, but it’s also not severe, but just in between. With that said, after my stress test, my mitral valve does not leak more nor does my heart function decrease with exercise, which was great news!
On the other hand. Gray. Then it was time to discuss what gray meant. With regards to pregnancy, gray means that I have a wider spectrum of risk. The smallest risk would be shortness of breath and bedrest. The biggest risk? Heart failure. If my heart function declined while pregnant, they would maybe have to take the baby early, to save my heart, and though the hope would be I could make it to 32 weeks, but that may not be the case. Along with heart failure comes possible death. It’s not the labor/delivery that would be the worst part for me, it’s the 9 months of carrying my baby that would put the most stress. If my heart function declined, there is a good chance that it would not return to normal functioning ever again; especially since my heart has been in rough shape before. It’s back to normal and I really don’t want to go back to the days right before my heart surgery of not being able to do anything b/c my heart function was so bad. And if I had a baby, there would be a good chance I would need surgery right afterwards and that may not be able to fix the functioning problem. That’s a big risk to us. I have many years ahead of me and there are a lot of risks ahead for me if I get pregnant!
Now the other piece of the puzzle. Dr. Sherman recommended (which I think was AWESOME that she suggested it) that I get a second opinion. Out of her 800 patients in her clinic, only one other one has the issues I do. And where does she suggest to get that opinion from? Mayo Clinic. I was hoping that wasn’t the case. I guess I see Mayo as for the REALLY sick and that there is no other option – I don’t like being categorized in that. But the reason she suggested Mayo is b/c she said they are one of THE BEST congenital heart facilites in the WORLD. Their experience with my type of problem is greater obviously than in GR and she knows a doctor who will hopefully just look at the tests and give her opinion/diagnosis. Therefore I would not have to go to Rochester, Minnesota to get testing done. That is if that doctor feels comfortable making an opinion on someone she hasn’t seen. Dr. Sherman and Dan both said that my case is abnormal and unique and it’s just a great place for that type of thing. In my heart I know that, but in my mind I think I need to be in really bad shape to go there. But what better place than Mayo to give a second opinion? So, hopefully in a month I will hear from Dr. Sherman on what Mayo thinks. And hopefully they won’t send me there.
And now where does this put Dan and I? One of the first things we talked about, and this was tough, was that our hopes were dashed again. AGAIN. Hope lost. Even though we didn’t say it before we went in, in our minds we both thought that maybe we would be given the “okay.” We didn’t get that at all. We weren’t given a red light, but we were given plenty risks that we are not willing to take. After tears and me getting frustrated (AND taking it all out on Dan – I feel so bad for that guy b/c he’s had to live with me through all this), we decided we do not plan on having any of our own children. 15 years ago I never would’ve thought I would be typing those words – but at the same time, I can’t tell you HOW MUCH PEACE in my HEART I have typing that. In my mind, there isn’t complete peace, but in my heart I know that is the decision God wants for us. After we both said that we think this is God’s desire, we both had so much comfort, burden-lifted, and peace with that. I just cried b/c I think it was so much emotion saying that at the same time, so much relief.
I am happy right now. Who would’ve thought? Yes I cried again on the way home thinking about not having our own, but in a way I think we need to grieve that. I know that will take time, yet we have started to even before this appointment. Grieving something we never had. And I know MANY tough days I’m sure are ahead b/c many things will remind us. But we needed to get to this point. You may ask why don’t you wait til you hear from Mayo? We just simply can’t. We can’t keep hoping and hoping and then getting them dashed. Emotionally we just can’t do it anymore. We feel that after 2 extremely indepth tests, with the same results, that that is God closing the door for us. We needed closure. Dan put it well – how many tests are we going to do to hear what we want? We AREN’T going to hear what we want. And we need to accept that. Today is the day we need to accept that.
I told Dan that just maybe God doesn’t have any babies in heaven for us to take care of here on earth. He said, “well yes He does!!” I asked, what do you mean? He said, “He has babies for us – just not for us to care for in our home.” He is so right. I got excited. EXCITED when he said that. God has blessed us with nieces and nephews in abundance, and OUR youth group kids. I look back at the blogs I wrote earlier and how we’ve called those kids our own – it is coming true.
Some may wonder if we are shutting the door on God and the possiblity of a miracle. I would like to think that we are not shutting the door, but just accepting the life God has given us. Maybe 6 years down the road we will reconsider. My heart is not getting better, but worse though. But right now, we need to move on. It’s going to be hard to move on – I know that. But until you’ve gone through the process of not knowing and the ups and downs of this all, there has to be a stopping point and we’ve come to that. We have NOT lost faith. In fact our faith is stronger b/c we now have to figure out what God wants for us as just a couple.
Why aren’t we talking adoption today? We just can’t yet. We need to first move on from this. We need to fully deal with this and then figure out what the next step is. We definitely are NOT closing the door on adoption, yet we don’t feel an open door either. We need to just deal with our situation now between us and when we are ready, figure out the next steps.
I know this is a REALLY long post, but I wanted to put in full what has been going on. MANY more posts will be coming about this whole situation just because it’s fresh. I’m sure there will be good and bad feelings/days throughout. We want to THANK everyone in person if we could who has said a prayer for us – we have truly felt them – especially today. Thank you also to those who have sent emails and cards of encouragment – I have kept them all – they keep me motivated in the easy and tough days. I wish everyone was in the carride on the way home to feel that peace that God blanketed over us. But know that this is just the beginning to many challenges I’m sure, but we are holding onto our faith that is GOING to bring us through this!