Growing up with CHD, I didn’t really give it much thought. It was just a part of my life. The yearly doctor appointments, falling asleep on a hospital bed as they ran my annual tests, calmly debating whether I needed a surgery or not. It was all routine. When someone asked about my scar, I never thought of them looking at my chest and would smile when they tried to stammer, “Not that I was looking there or anything.” You know those baby memes asking, “What’s better than one baby?” That’s me. I totally go, “What’s better than one giant scar in the front? Two on my back!” The only thought I gave to the monitoring electrodes was ways to get the sticky residue off. That is, until I saw the picture.
It was your typical new mom picture. Me holding a just delivered Isbe on my chest. You’ve probably seen plenty of similar ones, as have I. I love those pictures, but seeing mine was the first time as an adult that I really felt different. All because mine contained one piece that none of my friends’ pictures had: an ECG electrode.
I had looked at this picture dozens of times, but about a year after it was taken, all I could look at was that electrode. I had other electrodes, of course, and on the other end of them was someone watching my stats to make sure I didn’t die during labor and delivery. In fact, shortly after this picture was taken my head nurse took them all off. Within two minutes she received a call about it. I’m not complaining, I’m glad there was someone on the other end monitoring, but it’s an experience none of my other mom friends have gone through. It’s normal for baby’s to be monitored, but how often do you hear of the mother being monitored in such a way? Yet this is the way of my life.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t see this with Ade, it’s because I didn’t get the opportunity with him. Ade’s birth story is one I’ll have to tell another time. It is a story in which I had to rely on God to pull us through.
While I was pregnant, I had to drive an hour away to see special OB-GYNs who worked closely with my cardiologist. I went every month to see them to monitor both me and my baby. Before that, in the early years of being married, I had my stents enlarged to decrease the risk of potential harm to me and the baby. Once upon a time, it was questioned if I would even be able to have kids.
That one electrode is a symbol of my life. Perhaps a gentler reminder of the things I have endured, of the things that make me different from my friends. Or even of the things that set me apart from my own children, though I thank God completely for that. Looking at it, it’s just a reminder that I will always be set apart.
You would think that with all the turmoil surrounding my life, even the things I’ve gone through in the last ten years, that something as simple as a single electrode wouldn’t make me pause. Yet it’s those simple things that do catch me off guard and reminds me just what God has done for me. The way He has pulled me through everything. The way He has saved me and my children. I will endure these things–the heart monitors, the cardiology appointments, the procedures–for the rest of my life, and I will gladly do so if only as way to point the way to Christ. If only to say, “It is God.”
What are some simple things that remind you of God’s love for you?