On Sunday, I took Oia and Esme to a little girl's 4th birthday party. And, let me tell you. If you want to be the life of the party, even if only for a moment, walk in carrying a peacefully sleeping newborn and you'll be just that. Right away, two ladies began gushing over Esme as they recalled what life was like for them when they had infant children. I talked with the ladies for a brief moment, Oia charmed them with her sweetness, and we moved on to find the birthday girl.
After some playing, it was time to gather for song and cake. As it would be, Esme felt the need to eat too. No sooner than I had pulled the cap off of the bottle I brought for her, one of the ladies swooped in and asked if she could take Esme and feed her. Once I handed the littlest Miss over to eager arms, Oia and I settled in for the singing of Happy Birthday. After a few minutes had passed, I returned to check on Esme who was now full, content and tucked snug against this friendly stranger. While holding Esme, she was gazing at her sweet face and saying what an angel she was, that she was a "miracle".
Of course, all children are just that ~ a miracle. But, I'd be lying if I said I didn't think mine were just a little extra special. But the comment left me compelled to share with this lady what a miracle Esme really is. It's the first time I've ever mentioned her condition to a stranger and probably the last but like I said, I felt so compelled to do so.
"Well, you know, she is a little miracle. Her heart is special, located on the right side of her chest."
A woman standing next to us, heard my words, and chimed in to say, "Mine is too!"
Excuse me? With eyes the size of Texas, I replied with utter shock in my voice, "Really?! You have Dextrocardia too??"
This lady was unfazed by my surprise. "Yeah, and is her heart rotated a little bit?"
"Uh, yeah." (Still reaching for my jaw here)
"Yeah, mine too!"
Hol. Lee. Cow. Now I see palsied bodies out and about from time to time. I can spot them from miles away, even the most mild of cases. A physical disability is more of an obvious difference, most of the time, than a heart condition is. Maybe that's why I was so surprised and delighted to have my path cross hers and to actually be meeting someone of the same mold as Esme. Just months ago, I felt like I was the only one in the world who had a baby with Dextrocardia. Had she not been standing near to hear our conversation, I would have never known this about her.
Suddenly, I went into question mode. I wanted to know everything about her. I learned her parents didn't find out about her uniqueness until she was about three years of age. Physically speaking, it has never caused her any problems to date. She has tricked doctors a time or two when getting various check-ups or x-rays. You can only imagine the look on a doctor's face when they can't find a heartbeat where it's supposed to be, yet the patient is alive and breathing right in front of them. Sounds as though her heart has been more of a conversation piece for her than a problem.
I spent the rest of the party observing this woman from a distance as if to get a glimpse of Esme's future. I eyed her every move. I found myself looking for any outward sign of a woman in poor health. Or a woman with a unique heart. I saw nothing. She seemed healthy in every way ~ skin of healthy color, glowing, smiling, moving about with ease, in seemingly good shape. More importantly, she's a woman whose heart has carried her far enough into this life to experience life through the eyes of her grandchildren. That is what makes me breathe a sigh of relief and in turn thankful for our paths that crossed when they did. I had hoped that one day I would meet someone who was like our Esme but I never expected it to be so soon, or so random. But thankful it happened, however.