I kind of assumed I would be a mother when I grew up. And then, I didn’t. When I hit high school and then college, the idea of being married got a bit more pertinent. It forced me to recognize precisely what situation I was in. My parents had never really discussed any of the ramifications that having a heart defect would have on family planning with me. Come to find out later, they had discussed them with my cardiologist, but never with me. So on my first visit to my cardiologist solo (without my mom in the room), I asked him.
He’s a great guy. He’s pretty much a second dad to me – one that I see every six months or so, that has a funny accent, and that knows my insides way better than I know them. And since that day, I’ve felt comfortable asking him anything about my heart and it’s condition, no matter how stupid. I know he is going to tell me the precise truth, because when I asked him about having children, he looked at me and said “we’ll see.” I tend to assume the worst about my situation, or at least I used to, so the very thought that having my own child could be an option was enough to reduce me to tears. Much to the bewilderment of my then boyfriend.
When husband and I started dating and then got engaged, we were back to not having our own biological children. Both of us have a heart for adoption and we had decided that we didn’t want to risk the strain it would put on my heart to carry a child to full term. We agreed that when God wanted us to be parents, He would open a door and allow us to go through. We made a commitment that whenever the opportunity was presented to us to expand our family, we would pursue it. Whether that was adoption or biologically we were open to it, but we were most set on adoption.
Despite our attempts to adopt, husband and I still were open (if slightly frightened of) to the idea of having our own child biologically. So in January of 2008, I approached my cardiologist again. He was much more positive this time. With a smile, he said that it was perfectly feasible but he wanted to run some tests first just to make sure and to get a baseline condition of my heart. But we were overjoyed. And it was his decision to run those tests that may have saved my life.