One wonderful Heart Mom is collecting stories of gratitude to put in a book and present to Helena's heart surgeon. Here is our letter. It's something I've been thinking and trying to put into words for a long time now.
Because my husband and I try to see humor in everything, we bought Helena a shirt that says "Kiss it Natural Selection, I'm still here!" At the time, we just thought it was cute and funny but the more we think about it, the more we realize how true it is.
If left to nature, Helena would not be here. She was born with a TGA, VSD and pulmonary stenosis. Instead, she's 20 months old and walking and talking and people who meet her are shocked to hear everything she's gone through. If you met Helena today, you'd never know she's a Heart Warrior, that's how well she's doing.
And that's because of you. You are able to beat natural selection, and not only did you beat it in our case, but you do it on a daily basis. You are able to give us, and so many other families the gift of a child who isn't supposed to be here. It's a thought I now have on a daily basis as our family spends time together and enjoys Helena as she grows and develops.
What amazes us is that you beat nature on a regular basis. When we attended our first Heart Picnic last summer, I remember standing on the top of the hill and being in awe of how many families were there. I remember saying to my husband, "Look at this. Look at all these families. Dr. has touched the lives of every single person here, whether he operated on them or not." Those families would not be complete without you. It was such an amazing moment, and such a powerful thought.
It's not just the Heart Warriors that owe you everything - it's their entire families. Without your ability to defy nature, we wouldn't have our precious little girl and her brothers wouldn't have the baby sister they adore. Her grandparents wouldn't have their only granddaughter to spoil. Our lives would be completely different if not for you, our family would be incomplete. And that's true for every child you operate on.
Not only are you able to defy nature, but you have what a few fellow Heart Moms and I call "Dr. Magic". You are a beacon of calm and hope in a world that is full of chaos and fear. I don't know how many times I've heard families say that after meeting you they felt so much relief, and realized that it really is going to be ok. I joke with my husband that you must think I'm crazy because I'm pretty much incapable of speaking to you without breaking down sobbing (I'm even crying as I write this!) with so many emotions, but it's because you manage to not only save people's children, but you save them. You make parents feel safe, and that their child is going to be ok. Your quiet confidence helped save us, and so many others.
Thank you seems like such an inadequate phrase, but it is the best we have. So thank you Dr., for defying nature so that our family can be complete.