Today, by a total fluke, Carmen was diagnosed with a couple congenital heart defects.
Ethan told me he had a sore throat this morning and so off to the doctor we went. (He's fine.) Before we left, I asked the doctor to look at Carmen just to make sure since I'm a little bit wacky when it comes to germs and neurosis (if you haven't noticed). As she held her stethoscope up to Carmen's heart, I saw her expression change to one of slight concern. And then there it was. Lately I've struggled to remember the exact pain, the exact panic, the exact feeling that washed over me when Wylie was diagnosed with a CHD. This morning at the pediatrician, I had no trouble rediscovering and reliving that terror. Ethan was swept off with the receptionists to color some pictures while I crumbled to pieces clutching my beautiful baby. Not again. Not this again. Not me. Not Carmen. Not again. Why? Why? Why? I struggled to breathe. I struggled to form coherent sentences. I managed to somehow call both my mother and husband to get here right now and the cardiologist, the same one we saw with Wylie, cleared a space in his schedule immediately for us.
The waiting hurt. It physically hurt. Even though now, at 11:15 p.m., I know the diagnosis, I can't unfeel the pain of waiting, of watching Carmen laying there for her echo-cardiogram in the same room where we learned Wylie probably wasn't going to pull through.
Carmen is okay. She isn't going to die. She isn't going to go to sleep one day and not wake up. They are minor defects, ones that likely and hopefully will heal on their own without surgery. We just need to keep waiting and monitoring, hoping we will hear the magic words that her issues have resolved and she won't need heart surgery. Our very worst case is that she will require surgery, although that is apparently very unlikely, but it was made clear to us that it isn't a major surgery. Of course, it's still surgery. Of course, I'm still a mother who has lost a child to a congenital heart defect and then here I was, two years later, listening as a doctor found flaws with our baby girl's heart. No amount of "but they're such minor, common defects" will ever alleviate that pain.
But they are minor, common defects. I am grateful for that as much as I am bitter, saddened, terrified, beside myself with the injustice and sadness in my heart of hearts. In three weeks we will be back at the cardiologist where I had hoped to never step foot again, finding out what we can. I let myself fall apart today. I drowned my sorrows and fears in queso, gangsta rap and unrelenting tears. I allowed myself to fall apart and now I pulled it together because we are going to fight this. We are going to fight this for daughter.
Now, we stay strong for Carmen.