What Living Day-to-Day is Like for the Parent of a Child With CHD

Unfortunately, congenital heart disease, or CHD, does not follow a specific path with outlined procedures and repairs. It often throws us for a loop and causes us to react in the moment and then live with the fear and flashbacks going forward. About 6 months ago, Faith told me her tummy was shaking. When I placed my hand on her chest I realized her heart was beating very fast. I called 911 and the paramedics brought us to the local ER. Fast forward through all the details and they ended up performing a cardioversion (shocked her heart back into normal rhythm). We have since developed a plan with her cardiologist about what to do next time which put my mind at ease. That last part is a lie. It was supposed to put my mind at ease but my mind is never at ease. In the last 1-2 months my husband and I have noticed that her heart rate is lower than her baseline, and even drops into the 40's when she is sleeping. For reference, a 4-year-old's heart rate should not go below 65 beats

Getting Real About Mental Health

I keep reading posts and hashtags about mental health and ending the stigma. But if no one is discussing their own experiences, how can a hashtag alone actually make a difference? So here is my contribution to the mental health discussion: I suffer from anxiety. Sometimes I can keep it at bay and sometimes it is crippling and all-consuming. Outwardly, I make jokes and post about my child's bravery and often hear things like "she's a force" and "you are such a strong mom" and while I understand these come from a place of love, this is my truth: I would never have chosen this path for my child or for myself so I'm actually NOT as strong as others think.  My daughter's heart condition makes me second-guess a common cold and I will spend hours watching her breathe in case this is the cold that attacks her heart or causes some kind of damage that will ultimately come to a head in the middle of the night when I'm asleep. So when she is sick I often do

You're Pregnant Again?!

Any pregnancy that comes from love is typically a happy and welcomed pregnancy. So why is it that as the number of pregnancies a woman has had increases, the reactions from others changes from happy/excited to shocked/concerned? My husband and I are expecting our third. It doesn't seem like an outrageous number to me, yet the look on people's faces ranges from surprise to pity. PITY. I've even heard, "Oh you poor thing, you're going to have your hands full." Umm yes I know, I've done this twice before. I mean, if you weren't the one to put it there, nor will you be the one delivering it, why do you have an opinion? Are you responsible for feeding, clothing, educating or raising any of these children? Am I going crazy here? Why do people feel the need to impose their beliefs and opinions on others?  I'm aware all of the questions are making me sound gradually more hysterical and I may or may not be hitting the keyboard keys slightly harder with e

And Baby Makes Five!

In the time since my last blog post, we have found out we are expecting our third baby (yikes!) and moved into our new house. Busy doesn't even come close to describing life these days. And since my blog is all about honesty, I'm going to tell you how I felt when I first discovered I was pregnant. I was not happy. In fact, I was terrified. Faith was only 14 months and the trauma of my last pregnancy and beginning of her life was still very fresh in my mind and heart. I did not want to go through that again. It took me a long time to accept and then feel happy about another baby. I am now about 5 months along and my feelings have definitely changed. This baby (gender unknown) is healing me from the inside out. I have some deep scars on my mama heart and can feel them slowly fading. So many people have asked us if we are hoping for a boy this time. I typically just smile and say no but here's what I really want to say. We are "hoping" for a healthy baby. We are

Life With Two Littles

As I was trying to think about how to start this post, my two-month old woke up crying. That was two hours ago. Now that she has been fed, changed and entertained for awhile, she is snoozing and I have a chance to try this again. What better way to write a post about the craziness of having two children under three years old than with a plethora of interruptions. I finally sat down with a glass of water and checked my email while I gathered my thoughts. After a quick trip to the bathroom I returned to find a small toy in my water which was now cloudy from the grubby fingers of my toddler who had been playing outside. I got up once more to put the glass in the sink and wash her hands only to have her tell me she had a poopy bum. (Potty training a stubborn little girl is another topic altogether so stay tuned for a post about that!) Fast-forward five stomach-turning minutes and here I am...again. Before my second was born, I knew my life would get significantly busier but I couldn'


My husband and I are thrilled that our beautiful baby girl is finally here. It was a long, exhausting pregnancy filled with worry about the unknown but we are looking forward to putting that experience behind us and enjoying our two beautiful girls. Throughout my pregnancy, supportive family and friends would tell me to have faith that everything would be all right with our little girl. At some point we decided that Faith was a very fitting name so that's what we went with. It also goes very nicely with her big sister's name so now we have Grace and Faith :) One of the things that I need to do in order to move forward is to write about all of the feelings that I had in the last week. Writing is very therapeutic for me and always helps me feel better. Our daughter was born via cesarean section but I was given the opportunity to watch her birth as the doctors and nurses lifted my head up right as she was coming out. With my pregnancy being so clinical, I appreciated the normal

A Letter to My Unborn Child

Hi sweet girl, The day has finally come! We are going to meet you tomorrow and Daddy and I could not be more excited. We just want to hug and kiss you and tell you how much we love you. I want you to know that I loved you even before I knew we were going to have you. You have been our miracle baby from the very beginning. Your birth and first few weeks of life are going to be a little more complicated than they should be but we will get through it as a family. If there was any way I could stop you from feeling pain, I would take your place in a second. I wish I could be the one having this surgery and that your tiny body would not have to go through this. I'm sorry that I cannot do that for you but I promise to be by your side through the whole thing. If I don't get to hold you as much as we would like just know that even if you can't feel me I will still be there so you never have to wonder where I am. Let me tell you a little bit about your big sister. She is very fun