Whatta Week…

On October 15, 2010, in Julia's Journey, Personal, by Chris

I’m sitting next to my wife with the baby in her arms after a pretty tiring day. After a week’s blur of doctor’s appointments, trips to the pharmacy and paging through volumes of insurance forms, we are really feeling the fatigue.

Julia has had a lively day where she stayed awake almost the whole morning and then had an afternoon photo shoot with a family friend who happens to be a very talented children and lifestyle photographer. Shannon is a good friend who actually got me out from behind the camera for a few family shots (more on that later). It turns out that all the activity tuckered our little girl out and put her on the corner of Fussy Ave. and Cranky Street. No fun when that happens, but now she is resting comfortably. Even as I write, I am watching the pacifier in her mouth bob hypnotically up and down, pause, and then start again as she dozes and coos, waiting for her evening bottle.

I spent most of the morning lining up consults with pediatric heart surgeons – one at University of Michigan and the other at Children’s Hospital. I even drove downtown and navigated the rabbit warren of halls and elevators of Detroit Medical Center to drop off Julia’s chart at one surgeon’s office. This will be my life for a while – trying to juggle the roles of dad, husband, pastor, and (somewhere in there) child of the Creator.

I’ve received feedback from many saying they are praying for our little girl – thanks for that. It turns out that the results are… mixed, but ultimately hopeful. The Wednesday meeting with Julia’s cardiologist revealed that the “honeymoon period” is drawing to a close and the symptoms of her heart defect are beginning to show themselves. After intently watching her as she laid on the table, the doc detected a very subtle shift toward rapid, shallow breathing – a telltale sign of stress on the left ventricle of her heart. But he assured us that it was nothing to be alarmed about and that God loved Julia. And even through the quiet panic I have to fight off when I hear scary news about my daughter, at that moment, I believe him.

Dr. Elliot Weinhouse is truly an amazing man. An Orthodox Jew who, legend has it, is a rabbi at his temple and the father of nine children. Oh, yeah – he’s also one of the best pediatric cardiologists in the Midwest (my assessment). I’ll share another story of his passion for God and people – especially children: The first time I saw him at Julia’s bedside in the NICU, he took my hand, looked me in the eye and quoted the Priestly Blessing from the Book of Numbers – some of it in English, some in Hebrew:

“The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you
and give you peace.”

… soothing words for a shell-shocked, uncertain new dad to hear. We even prayed together at her bedside with his uncertain East Indian resident.

He always has a kiss on the forehead for Julia, warm words of encouragement to steady the nerves of her parents, and as I mentioned in a previous post, his office walls are literally covered with the children (he says “precious children”) that have been under his care over the years. And anyone who, at the end of every visit, prays in Hebrew over my kid is a rock star in my book.

The disappointing news of Julia’s symptoms made Wednesday a quiet day as my mind churned through the emotion of it. This was going exactly the way medical science predicted. God seems to have decided not to delay the symptoms, as I had asked so many to pray for.

Damn.

But I, prompted by a benevolent butt-kicking by a friend, woke just enough from the weight and stress in my head to decide to be grateful in this. Notice: I did not say grateful for this, but in this. God gave us over a week at home to enjoy our little girl and not think about the heart defect too much. There will be a time that the trial will be complete. An in our more clear-headed moments, we do not fear for the life of our child. That is something worthy of celebration.

And the celebration continued the following day. The audiologist’s findings are that there is NO EVIDENCE of hearing loss in Julia. The right ear passed immediately and the left ear shows mere signs of fluid that can be remediated in many ways.

My baby will one day enjoy the symphony with her mommy and daddy.

So tonight we will celebrate, rest and hit it again tomorrow.

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4 Responses to Whatta Week…

  1. JimmyH says:

    Thank you for your honesty, brother, as you navigate this new role in life – Daddy.

    Whenever you feel the weight of these precious moments you write about, think of the love you have for baby Julia and multiply it by some ridiculous number… even then you won’t come close to the love your Abba Father has for you. May that thought be what fills and enables you to love your beautiful wife and daughter the way God intends.

  2. Missy Peters says:

    Hi Chris,

    I am Jocelyn’s friend from college.. she and Tammy led me to Christ and through their obedience to God completely changed the course of my life… (for good of course! lol 🙂

    I love Joc with all my heart and have so many special memories with her.. and I know the long wait she had until the Lord brought you to her… I just want to say that as I have grown to know you and your heart through this blog I know God has truly blessed her and it just fills my heart with joy. Jocelyn is so incredibly beautiful inside and out and I am so incredibly happy for both of you.

    Julia Paige is a precious, sweet, beautiful baby girl.. I know you already know this 🙂 I fully recognize that you and Jocelyn are being stretched from the beginning to the end of your faith throughout this journey you are on as parents. Parenting will do that to you!!

    I am so blessed to read your blog and pray for sweet Julia. I pray for peace for both you and Jocelyn as well as for God’s hand of healing on Julia’s heart.. continued wisdom for all of her doctors and for a long, precious life shared with her amazing parents… I hope you know that people all over the country are praying for her.. and we love you all very much. Please continue to keep us updated so that we can pray. Your transparency in your updates is refreshing.. and allows us to share in this journey even though we can not be there personally to provide comfort.

    Please tell Jocelyn that I love her and that the Lord reminded me just a month ago that I will be in heaven, an amazing and glorious place because Tammy and her took the time to listen and love a very confused and hurt young woman. They showed me the love of Christ and today I live such an amazing, blessed life as a result of their obedience.

    Please let us know if there is anything at all that we can do for you.. I hope someday to meet that sweet baby girl and hug Jocelyn again!! (and you too!)

    In Christ,
    Missy

  3. Lisa Cook says:

    Ah, the roller coaster of parenthood (on speed, for you guys). Julia is blessed to have two, hard working, thoughtful, smart, parents who were loved as children, themselves. The trust you have in your future, because of your beliefs, should be balance with your knowledge of your past. You and Jocelyn have all the resources of past generations of great parents imbedded into your souls. I have no doubt that grace, luck, karma, gods and goddess’, will all pitch in for our girl. Love Lees

  4. Detours says:

    […] was going to be a routine (routine? really?) consult with Dr. Weinhouse today. A quick visit to confirm what thought we already knew: that she was growing, the diuretics […]

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