Let me just admit at the outset that this post isn’t going to turn out like anything I had planned. Most of you who have been following this story know Dr. Weinhouse and what a caring, marvelous man he is. (ed. note: for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, you can get caught up here and here.) All I was going to do was share his kind words of intercession and call it a night. Apparently Julia and God had other ideas.

First, the pragmatics: Julia is continuing to feed astonishingly well – so much so that she’s starting to get a little cranky when we aren’t there with the warmed bottle in hand and a burp cloth draped over our arm. Even this evening, Jocelyn was upstairs and I was consoling our ravenous little girl, even though there should have been at least thirty minutes before we would have expected her to be hungry.

So there I sat with a howling Julia on my knee trying to figure out if it was her hiccups or actual hunger that was the source of her ire. You get pretty inventive after a while trying to find ways of distracting a fussy child. Start with one position, shift to another. Jiggle her on your knees, then change to the football hold or throw in a light stroke under the chin. In moments of desperation, I’ve even gotten up and swayed with her (a sight that only my wife will ever witness – it’s not pretty).

Her diatribe was at a peak when, in a moment of inspiration, I slipped a finger between the buttons of her sleeper and traced the line of her breastbone. Her perfect… scarless… breastbone. Ugh. Blindsided by feelings that I don’t want to deal with right now. Push it down. Push it down…

I got up and fixed her a bottle – partially to distract my thoughts of fear and anticipation, but mostly because the hiccups had subsided and a process of elimination concluded that she was hungry. Julia continued to find new expression for her fussiness, but her frustration ended completely when I was finally able to sit and let her feed.

And as I looked upon that satisfied, angelic face, the ache of a father’s uncertainty came back.

This isn’t fair. No child deserves to have her chest cracked open…

but thank God that they can fix the ailing heart it contains.

How can this little mind process the trauma that is going to be visited upon her?

Will she come out of this with her innocence intact?

I took it all in and breathed it all out with a watery-eyed prayer of desperation. Lord, please help us.

I offer you this prayer of a heart doctor with a big, big heart. And whether you believe that we are knitted together intentionally or are simply a random collection of very well-ordered organic molecules, I ask that you be in agreement with the spirit of his prayer…

Elliot’s words are our words…

Anna Adonai, Hoshiana – Dear God, help us

No truer, more heartfelt words have been uttered in this whole adventure. I pray it as I consider the unknown of the next couple of weeks. I pray it as I run out of ways to distract a fussy infant. I pray it as I move through my day, trying to stay coherent on four hours’ sleep.

Anna Adonai, Hoshiana – Dear God, help us

Jocelyn and I would love for you to join us in that prayer over the next couple of weeks. There will be more news forthcoming on what can be expected and how I’m going to be modifying the website so that you can get real-time updates during the days of surgery and hospitalization. But none of that matters but for the providence and power of the Infinite Love who is mindful of us even when it doesn’t feel like it. None of that matters but for the love and support we have felt from you.

Thanks again.

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9 Responses to A Heart Doctor’s (and a Dad’s) Prayer

  1. Robin Fisher says:

    So blessed by your blogged today…what an awesome doctor you have. 🙂 Praying for Julia every day…..love y’all. robin

  2. Krista says:

    Hi Chris! Anne Agnetti forwarded me your blog. I’m a “heart’ parent as well. My son Luke had OHS at 6-days-old at Mott to fix three defects. He is doing amazing now! I am part of a local/national non-profit called It’s My Heart-Metro Detroit that does support for families whose kids have CHDs or are undergoing open-heart surgery. We have community gatherings once a month to get together, sometimes socially, sometimes to hear from speakers. And next month we have our biggest event of the year, the Raise a Glass for CHD Awareness Wine Tasting and Silent Auction, as a kick-off to CHD Awareness week. Just want you to know, you’re not alone — not by far, with 1 in 100 babies being born with a CHD. There are a ton of parents here in metro Detroit who have been there! Let me know if you’d like to talk with any of them/us. BTW, I’m a Kensingtoner — we go to the Birmingham campus. Good luck, and God bless, and hang in there.

  3. Anne A says:

    This video brought tears to my eyes. Something so special about hearing those Hebrew words out loud after reading them in the Bible…and to have them prayed over Julia wow. Amazing that you have it as a memory for when she’s all grown up to watch!

  4. Mary says:

    My son sees Dr. Cutler, but I am familiar with Dr. Weinhouse and how absolutely amazing he is. I am praying for Julia and for her upcoming surgery at CHM. From one heart parent to another, be assured of our prayers for a successful surgery and uneventful recovery period.

    (((Heart Hugs)))

  5. Nancy T. says:

    Yes, I will be praying Anna Adonai, Hoshiana – Dear God, help us
    it is such an awsome experience to be part of what God is going to do as the result of the faithfulness of all of those who have been seeking His blessings for Julia.

  6. Steph says:

    Tears rolling down my cheeks. My dear friend… we are and will hold you in prayer.

  7. Desiree says:

    Hallo Chris,
    This Desiree I just saw the u tube of Julia, or giulia, like we would spell it in Italy.
    She looks wonderful and I know in my heart that everything will be ok.
    My prayers are with Giulia, of corse for joselin and u a big Italian kiss.
    Victory will be on her side!!!!!!
    Go Giulia, go!!!!!!!!!
    Love a crazy Italian aunt.
    Don’ t u think everybody needs one of those in their court 🙂

  8. Jenny Fecke says:

    Chris, Jocelyn, and Julia,
    Praying for you all and a rapid recovery post-op. We’ve had a particularly hard week with our little guy Benjamin, so I hope you don’t mind but I’ve borrowed your prayer. It’s almost become a chant in my mind while I go about my day. Thank you for sharing. It’s about time our little ones get the break they so deserve!

  9. Phyllis Kubler says:

    Chris… what a story thus far! Thanking God for your utmost faith in Him! Praying for your little Julia and all of the staff who are watching over her this very moment! And of course praying for Mom and Dad too! A journey in life for you both and your precious little one! Love and prayers for you all! Phyllis & Karl Kubler

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