Friday, February 5, 2010

February - Heart Health Awareness Month

February is Heart Health Awareness Month. And as Elise is nothing if not thorough, this is the month she had open heart surgery.

It was 7 years ago day before yesterday that God placed the most amazing words into Ethan's mouth.

He looked at me and said, "Regardless of how this turns out, you know that if God had called down to you and said, 'I've got a baby I need you to watch for me for a little bit, could you?' You'd say yes."

It was 7 years ago yesterday that I was driving the icy mountains of Jellico, TN, wondering if my fears of Elise's open heart surgery were groundless...that we would die in the car due to losing control on the ice.

It was 7 years ago today that Elise and I spent all day at Cincinnati Children's Hospital doing paperwork and all pre-op appointments and searching the Bible for verses that would keep me at peace and promise hope.

Those that I held tight to were: Matthew 8:13, 18:19-20; Psalm 34:4, 42:8; Mark 5:19, 9:24, 10:16, 10:27; Luke 5:26, 8:39, 8:50

It was 7 years ago tomorrow that Elise's skin went from waxey white to angelic roses and cream. She underwent just under 6 hours worth of surgery by Dr. Peter Manning to put her heart back together again. It was only supposed to take 3 or 4. But went they got in they found so much bigger holes than they expected (and more of them), and a "refluxing mitral valve"...that they said that for all intents and purposes she was probably operating with only 1/2 of a heart.

It was 7 years ago that we discovered that Elise processes drugs different than everyone else. That she was still in pain with morphine, but felt all but healed with Tylenol.

It was 7 years ago that I was given my baby back to me the first time. And I discovered that the Downs just wasn't that important. That my baby was a bigger gift than I had even realized...that God was good, no matter what.


  1. i love how scripture gives us the words to comfort.
    and i love the hindsight we get from big moments in life.
    God bless!

  2. Tiffany,
    What a beautiful account of such an emotional and defining time in the life of your family! I'll never forget seeing you and Ethan holding Elise just before the surgery with all the uncertainties and fears, yet faith that God was in control. You gave each of the family members a list of those scriptures you were claiming. What a wonderful feeling it was to have Elise wake up a bright-eyed, pink baby! You are an amazing mom, my son is a very insightful man and was so wise in choosing you for his wife. I love you all dearly! Leesie is, indeed, a miracle on so many levels!

  3. Seven years ago, Tiffany's middle school teacher, Mr. Fennema, said of Elise's birth - "This child will be an incredible blessing . . . write me in 10 years and confirm my words." Surely, we did not have to wait ten years to confirm the reality of his words. Elise has blessed and challenged us in unimaginable ways: to walk in faith and not in sight, to trust God's faithful promises, and to delight in the her boundless, sheer delight for life! Yes, there have been dark moments and melancholy ones. But, there's never really time to linger in those moments - because she comes bounding in with all the VIGOR and DELIGHT and JOY that IS Elise !! Or, she moves you to tears with her spiritual heart: praying over her new baby sister within minutes of Charlotte's first entrance to the house - or singing praise songs at the top of her lungs - or throwing her arms into the air with a "Yay" when told her great-grandmother was "home with Jesus"! Elise is teaching us things we might not have learned - but for God's gracious gift of her sweet life!

    Thank you, Tiffany, for reminding us so beautifully of these milestones moments and allowing us to reflect on the things God is teaching us along this path. . . We are blessed to pray with you and for you along this journey of delight and faith!

  4. okay, this post totally made me cry....thank you for your beautiful words...and for your prayers for my family as well. Hope your sweet Elise recovers from "strep" soon...which by the way, your peds office bathroom post also had me cracking up...many reasons why I love your blog :)