Our first grandson was born. We were so excited and happy and he was the cutest baby in the whole nursery.
The first two days we were all walking on cloud nine. I was there the day he was born and I couldn’t wait to hold him. He had a full head of hair, 10 fingers and toes and was just perfect.
On the third day our world came crashing down around us.
I was getting ready to go to an 80th birthday party for a very dear friend of ours when our son called and told us we better stay home. He said the nurses came in and told them that they think something is wrong and they have a call put out to the doctor to come to the hospital right away. They said that his lips turned blue and he had a hard time breathing when they were feeding him. A few minutes later he called again and said that when the doctor got there he told them that William has a heart condition and that they have called for the medical helicopter to take him to Madison to the Children’s Hospital there.
I told Billy we’d be up right away and then I crumbled and broke down in tears. We rushed up to the hospital praying all the way to be with our son and his wife and to see William before they took him away. We stood there and watched them prepare William for his flight and watched them wheel him to the helicopter. As we stood outside and watched as they took off I couldn’t hold back the tears. I prayed and I cried and prayed some more.
Once we got to Madison the doctors had already checked him out and told us that William’s heart had what they called Trans positioned Coronary Arteries and would need heart surgery. They were hoping they could wait until he was a year old but it didn’t happen that way. Later that night they had to do emergency surgery. When you’re born you are born with a hole between the heart chambers that helps oxygenate the blood and it closes after you’re born. Williams was closing but for him that was a bad thing. In the middle of the night they had to do surgery and open that hole again so his blood could get oxygen.
He was sent home from the hospital after 2 weeks with medications I’d never heard of before. The hope was that he would do ok until he was a year old. That didn’t happen either. He ended up having to have open heart surgery when he was 5 months old. I can’t tell you how heart breaking it is to walk into his hospital room and see that little tiny baby with his chest bandaged and tubes and wires hooked up to him and going into him all over his little body. If I could I would have traded places with him in a split second. There’s nothing worse then seeing a child have to suffer like that.
The surgery was a huge success and he was able to go home about a month later. He grew and did wonderful for 4 years. When he was 4 he started having problems again and we found out that he needed another open heart surgery. His heart valve in the right chamber needed repair. The doctors in Madison told us that the best hospital for this type of surgery was in Chicago. So, we all packed up and headed to Chicago.
Once again he had bandages, wires and tubes all over him. I remember standing by his bed after all of his surgeries and watching the monitors that were hooked up to him. I’d watch that line go up and down showing us his heart beat. If it seemed like it was slowing down I would hold my breath and pray that it would beep again. It did. It always did! And I say a prayer of thanks each and every time.
Last year he started having problems again. He was here staying with us and he told me one day that sometimes it feels like his heart is beating super fast and that once in awhile he feels like he was going to pass out. We called his dad and told him about it and he made an appointment right away with Williams cardiologist. It turned out that his heart had grown scar tissue and was, for a lack of medical terminology, kind of shorting out. This time though they could fix it by going up through his thigh and he would be in and out over night. This procedure was a whole lot easier him and I thank God that he didn’t need another open heart surgery. While they were in there they checked his other surgery sites and told us that they look really good and is doing great. I was really glad and grateful to hear that.
After he was born and my other kids started their families I made sure they all told their doctors about William. Even though the doctors said that what he had isn’t hereditary I wanted their doctors to know just in case. Thank God all of them were born healthy and happy with no problems.
So today he turns 20 and has grown into a wonderful young man. He’s kind, courteous, loving and remarkable. He’s happy and has a great sense of humor, kind of like his Grandma I think lol.
I know I’ve told some of you this before but I think of this every year on his birthday. And Every day we thank God for giving those wonderful doctors the ability, the talent and the courage to do what they do.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILLIAM! We love you!