My name is Nancy Bush. We spoke at the Community Easter Egg Hunt at Shiver’s Park. I think you said that your name is Tony. I apologize, I am a teacher, but don’t always remember names well.
You asked me to share my daughter’s story with you. I am always proud to share the miracle that God did in her life.
Her name is Emma Anne, named after both her maternal and paternal grand and great grandmothers.
A little backstory: when I was 20 weeks pregnant with my oldest son in 2016, I was diagnosed with non-systemic lupus and have two specific types of antibodies associated with that diagnosis that can cross the placenta and damage the heart of the unborn child. My son never did develop the congenital heart block and will be 7 in September. So, after a few years we got pregnant again. Because of my medical condition, we were a high risk pregnancy and seeing the doctor for monitoring.
At our 18 week appointment, they had trouble finding her heartbeat. After being referred to the cardiologist, she was diagnosed with complete congenital heart block. It was difficult news to process. The way it was explained to us for our situation was this: it is like someone built a beautiful house, with all the walls, roof, flooring, appliances, etc; but the electrical got messed up and nothing turns on. The doctors stressed that we needed to try to get to 23 weeks, which was considered viable. Her heart rate was in the high 50s low 60s. To give comparison, typically they look for the heart rate to be between 120s and 140s. We looked up the condition and asked lots of questions. The prognosis didn’t seem too hopeful. We went home that week after we got the diagnosis and started telling our families. We told our church family both in Jacksonville and friends back here in Chipley and had our baby girl put on prayer lists. Our church in Jacksonville, where we were living at the time, had a prayer night and laid hands and prayed over me and Emmie. We could feel the prayers of our friends, family, and people we didn’t know but still prayed for our baby.
At our next appointment with the cardiologist at 20 weeks, her heart rate was up to the 70s. But this time, they found fluid around her heart and stomach. If she had fluid around her heart, stomach, and lungs the doctors told us that they would have to do an emergency c-section immediately or she may not survive. That is scary to hear. So, we updated our prayer request about the fluid. When we had our 27-week appointment with the cardiologist, the fluid was almost gone around her stomach and had not changed around her heart.
We had made it not only to viability, but were entering our 3rd Trimester. I was having appointments 2 to 3 times a week to monitor the pregnancy and her heart. Each week we would go, the doctors would say how good our baby was maintaining. It was still scary, because some of the risks of her condition were late term miscarriage and stillbirth. We continued to pray and try to focus on the positives. We tried to not Google information and look at worst case scenarios. The doctors started planning our C-Section for June 26, 2019. They told us to plan to be in the hospital 6 to 8 weeks after birth. They told us that she would need to have a pacemaker and discussed the details of that.
We ended up having to have an emergency c-section on June 19, 2019. She went from NICU to Pediatric Cardiac ICU. And, the entire time she had countless people praying for her. On June 26, 2019 they completed her surgery for her pacemaker. She came through it like a champ. Then, to our surprise, when the doctors came through for rounds two days later, they asked us if we were ready to take her home. Just 48 hours after they had cracked her chest and placed a pacemaker, they were saying she was good to go home. That is the power of God and how prayer is powerful. Emmie is our miracle and little fighter. When we had our first follow up with the doctor, he told me something that I will never forget. He said, “We don’t get to see this hardly ever with babies who are diagnosed with complete congenital heart block – make it to full term and survival.” I was able to share with him that it is only because of prayer and the power of my God that she is here.
A lot of times when terrible things happen or we are in situations that we don’t understand, we question God and doubt His greatness. I have come to believe that He allows things so that His Glory can be shown in and through our lives. In our weakness, He will give us His strength and a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Below are a family picture from this past Christmas, a picture when she was about 6 weeks old that is entitled “Heart of a Fighter” by Michelle Shafer, and a picture from this past Wednesday at the Easter Egg Hunt.
p.s. I am realizing how long this email is. I love to brag about God and what He has done for us and how blessed we are to have our daughter with us and healthy. There are so many people with similar stories or more stressful situations who didn’t have our positive outcome.