May the 12th, 2013.
It was a Sunday. We strolled up to church with two beautiful little girls dressed in their Sunday best. Our toddler smiling at familiar faces as people bent down to chat to her, our baby girl, only nine weeks old, charming everyone who we saw. She had been a blissful baby; contented, cheery, sleeping through the night from five weeks old. My life was so, so full. My heart could not have been fuller.
After starting in church together, I settled our older daughter in creche and headed out to the sofa at the back of church to feed our baby. She was irritable and fidgety. Not the usually contented feeder that she was usually. I sat her up, winded her, tried to settle her but she didn't want to settle at all. I figured something was up, wondered if she was a little under the weather and wandered around until she fell off to sleep, little knowing the trajectory our life was about to take.
It was the beginning of a nightmare.
Even now, typing this, the old memories flood back... emotions catch in my throat. The dread at what could have been... the sense of grief at the end of our wonderful, innocent world. I would never again be the carefree mother I had been before.
By that evening, Heidi had broken into a rash and been violently sick. Two days later we found ourselves hospitalised... tubes everywhere, and I sat in a teary mess frustratingly trying to feed my baby while she struggled to latch with all the wires.
"How is my baby supposed to get better when I can't even feed her properly?!"
It was heartwrenching, heartbreaking, the most soul-painful thing I have ever endured. As a mother, to watch your little baby battling for her life in utter helplessness while Doctors tried hopelessly to figure out what was wrong with her. It was the longest fifteen days of my life. Until finally we had a diagnosis.
Kawasaki Disease. That had wrecked her perfect little heart.
We were heartbroken and devastated. And yet through it all, that steadfast, firm voice that reminded us...
"You are hemmed in... behind and before... where you go I have gone before you... even in the depths I am there."
The Lord Jesus. Our Saviour. Our rescuer. The anchor for our souls.
We had no idea what the future would look like.
And yet here we are.
Five years later. A beautiful little girl full of spark and character and life. Off medication at last. It is such a far cry from what we ever thought possible. What we ever hoped for. Her little heart still bears the battle scars... it always will. And our hearts are forever marked and changed by that dark valley we walked...
Yet despite the heartache, I am so thankful for the lessons learned in those dark days. Lessons of reliance and dependence... lessons in trust and hope... lessons in relinquishing and surrendering.
He is so very good. He is so very faithful.
We are so very thankful for our beautiful Heidi girl.