Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Power of Prayer

Probably one of the greatest things I have learned since Ryan's birth is that being a parent is not easy. Hear my heart, it is the greatest joy one will ever know. However, with great love comes a lot of sleepless nights, worry, questions, and tough decisions. I hope these posts are mostly about my little munchkin and less about me, however I couldn't help but blog about an experience I had this past week at work. I am currently on a pediatric cardiology rotation, meaning I spend my day seeing children with many different heart problems. Most of the children are born with defects in their heart of some sort or a variation thereof.

Since starting cardiology I have found new heroes and warriors in pediatric medicine - the families and children with congenital heart defects. I say "new" because all of my patients are heroes but these are extra special. Some of these children endure multiple surgeries (chest-cracked-open surgeries), medicines, etc. Now that I am a parent I have a new-found respect for all parents, but especially these. I think any mom or dad would tell you their worst fear would be something happening to their child - cancer, SIDS, heart problem, etc. On Friday, I had the privilege of meeting a family of 4. Mom and dad accompanied their precious 6 month old son to his cardiology appointment; 2yr old brother stayed with Nana. They have been coming to see the cardiology docs since his birth secondary to a hole between his ventricles (the bottom chambers of his heart). This defect is the most common congenital heart defect in kids and we see quite a bit of it. Now, most of the time it isn't too big of a deal. Often, they will spontaneously close on their own (depending upon size, location, and some other variables).

This little guy hasn't had the easiest time and has required medicine to help him combat the symptoms of "heart failure" secondary to his VSD (the hole). On Friday, these parents came to the doctor with their son who had a common defect that often closed on its own and left that morning preparing for their son to have open heart surgery in 3-4 weeks. WOW!! It wasn't an easy decision for parents and physician, which made it that much sobering in the room. We could sit and wait, continue medicines and hope things didn't get worse or even better, that the hold would close on its own. Or, go to surgery and fix it. As the recommendation of surgery was given to the parents, I watched the mother's face. It instantly changed, almost like "mama-bear" mentality kicked in. She started asking questions, great questions. Then, after her mind couldn't think of any more questions, her heart took over and tears filled her eyes. She then asked the loaded question that we often get in medicine, "If it were your child what would you do?". In that instance, the cardiologist I was working with stopped and asked if he could pray. In that room we prayed for God's wisdom, guidance and peace. We asked for protection for the sweet little boy for whom we were making the decision. At the end of the prayer a peace consumed the room and I think all of us knew the best thing was for him to proceed with surgery. The little guy began smiling and giggling and kicking his legs around, almost like he was reminding us it would all be okay. What an amazing God we serve!!

I tell you this story for many reasons. First, our God is an amazingly faithful God who, I believe, always answers when you call on His name. Second, to give you a piece of why I love my job so much. Sharing in some of the most vulnerable and life-changing moments of a family's life is such a blessing and privilege that I hope I never forget or take for granted. The third and final reason, I am now a parent. I cannot even begin to imagine making the decision those parents made on Friday, but they took it to the Lord and made the best decision they could. I pray I always do the same!


  1. Bethany- thank you for sharing this amazing story! what a beautiful expression of the peace that comes with fully trusting God.

  2. 1. I love all these pictures of Ryan. She is beautiful!
    2. I think I can guess which cards doc that was.
    3. God is so good.