Slow down

Don’t panic!

That’s the best advice I can give you. When in the middle of a crisis, do not run in circles as if your hair is on fire. Slow down, calm down, take a deep breath, and sort through the situation.

“Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast,” the old saying goes. If you have a large job that has to be done fairly rapidly, the best way to tackle it is to cut it into as many small parts as possible. First I have to do A. Then B. Then C. If C doesn’t work, then I have to choose between D and E. So, what would make me choose one option over another? You think it out and plan it before you have to do it. So when you’re in a crisis, the clock is running and C isn’t working,  you’re already thinking ahead, deciding what comes next. And because you’ve taken the time to think it through and make a plan, the decision is almost made for you.

As the parent of an unborn child with a heart defect, you have an advantage. Hopefully the defect was detected via Ultrasound or Sonogram. The doctors have had a good look and they have a plan. When the child is born, we do this, then we do that. Talk to the parents of some of the older CHD survivors, they never had that luxury. One moment they were the happy parents of a newborn, and a moment later the roller coaster ride began.

So don’t panic. Grab your doctor and don’t let go until you know the plan as well as he does. Have the information you need to make a critical decision quickly.

If the defect was not expected, then everyone is forced to rely on experience. You don’t have any, so you are going to have to rely on the medical staff. Hopefully you and your spouse have had a couple of “What if…?” discussions, so you have a general idea what you want to do. If not, don’t kick yourself – every parent expects things to go wonderfully and may avoid such topics. But have that discussion as soon as possible.

This is not a world that you would choose to be in. But you are here, and you need to learn to deal with it.

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One Response to “Slow down”

  1. Lisa Says:

    Oh so true…
    As a person who has done CHD both ways, I much prefer the ‘know in advance’ option. My oldest son lost his “perfect” status on day 2 of life. What a blow. Even in 1992 the support and knowledge was not even close to what we had in 2005 when Eli came along. Yes, it made for a gut wrenching 20 weeks knowing beforehand and having the loss of our oldest as our only comparison. It was so helpful to have a plan and support.

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