Eight months ago when we found out prenatally that our baby would need heart surgery I was terrified. And that terror didn't go away, but continued to boil underneath the surface throughout my pregnancy and the first four months of Benny's life.
But as the time of the surgery grew near, an amazing thing happened. People began to rally around me. My sister set up a special Team Benny page on FaceBook. People I had just met asked me how they could help. A neighbor brought over chicken soup in small containers to keep in the freezer. My son's school counselor offered to bring us Thanksgiving dinner. A friend I had just met brought us dinner. Someone I still haven't even met in person set up a meal train for us, and friends signed up.
My brother-in-law printed t-shirts with a special heart he designed to represent the four chambers that Benny's healed heart would have, with characters Caspian and his cousins drew sending love to the heart. When I asked people to let me know if they were interested in wearing a Team Benny t-shirt the response was incredible.
So many people reached out and asked me how they could help that I finally realized that they really meant it. So I sat down with my husband to figure out what help we needed, and wrote a blog post on how people could help.
In the days leading up to the surgery pictures of people wearing their Team Benny shirts started to appear on our FaceBook page, in texts and emails. It felt like everywhere we looked we were reminded that people were praying for and thinking about us.
At home my mother and good friend Hannah had arrived and were helping me keep Benny and the rest of us well fed and the house in order. My stress was slowly decreasing despite my fear of the ever looming surgery date coming nearer and nearer.
Yesterday all day I watched and read as people from all over the world sent us pictures and messages letting us know they were praying for us, thinking about us and visualizing a positive outcome for Benny. Our friend Joel is a professional photographer and had taken amazing pictures of our family a few weeks before the surgery. All day he sent us beautiful pictures of Benny looking healthy and happy, reminding us that our baby would be healthy and happy again.
And the crazy thing is, all that praying and positive visualization worked. Not only was Benny's surgery a complete success, but the terrible day that I had anticipated for months didn't feel so scary at all. Feeling everyone's love and support for us made everything okay.
Sometimes in all of our hustle and bustle it's easy to forget how beautiful life really is, and how wonderful people can be. Today Benny's heart is working beautifully. He is sedated and recovering. Everything is going well, and we are feeling relieved beyond belief.
Thank you to all of our friends and family who have supported us through this surgery and beyond. We love you all so much.
Since becoming a mom to a little boy with Trisomy 21 I have written a lot about Down syndrome and disabilities. I am a storyteller, wife and mom to a teen and a toddler. Life is busy!