Feed on

Tuesday, January 2 was my first day back at work from maternity leave. Besides saying hi and chatting with my colleagues–many of whom I missed–my first order of business was to find out when/if my friend and colleague Jen had had her baby yet. She was expecting to have a boy in late December.

Jen works in a different division than I do, so it took some time to find someone who could tell me. But this morning I learned that Jen delivered baby Sam in mid-December. I was thrilled with the news. Then I read on: He was born with two heart defects: coarctation of the aorta and a ventricular septal defect. Seven days after Sam was born, he had open heart surgery, which he came through will flying colors. There have been some set-backs along the way, and Sam will be undergoing his second surgery Monday, this time to insert an internal pacemaker.

The prognosis is good, and Sam may even be going home in a week or so. But the little guy is being fed through a tube, has never been outside or in his own house, and now faces more discomfort as he goes through the surgery and recovery cycle. I can’t imagine how Jen must be feeling.

A good friend of mine passed on a quote that runs something like, “The day you decide to be a parent is the day you decide to wear your heart ouside your body.” No kidding. Jen and I decided to try the mom thing at the same time; we confessed it over a sushi lunch one day when I drove up to my company’s Indianapolis office. She was only 10 weeks behind me, and we had several fun email and phone exchanges comparing notes about pregnancy symptoms, maternity clothes, etc. I loved talking to her about our babies on the way. Never in a million years did I think her journey would end like this. Nor, I’m sure, did she.

If you know Jen, I’m sure your heart goes out to her. If you don’t know Jen, I’m sure your heart still goes out to her. For the sake of Jen, her husband, and her family, let’s all hope that baby Sam is the best, strongest, bravest and most stubborn of the 2006 crop.

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