Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Story of Faith and a Baby

February is American Heart Month and the month has almost gotten away from me without a couple of very important posts being written (1 is probably gonna slip back into March but I'll blame it on February being so short).  This post is about physical hearts and the faith that lives in our hearts. 

This is Mason...
Isn't he just so stinking cute?!
Mason is the son of my friends Cory and Meagan.  While I don't get to see them much I, and many others I know, have a pretty strong connection to Mason because many of us have a whole lot of prayers wrapped up in that sweet little boy! is Mason's a shortened version that I know won't come close to doing justice to the faith, the pain, the joy of the actual happenings (my writing could never do justice to the miraculous things God has done through Mason's existence).
Meagan and Cory were so excited when they found out they were expecting their second little boy, due May of 2011.  The pregnancy progressed happily, with a few hiccups, until their 20 week ultrasound and checkup.  That was the day that changed their lives in many, many ways.  They found out after 2 different ultrasounds that Mason had physical defects, cystic hygroma, atrioventricular canal defect in his heart, a thick nuchal fold and poor foot arches, which are all consistent with Down Syndrome.    That day their image of what their lives would be came crashing down around them.  They were told their baby may not even make it.  And through the chaos, they immediately turned to their faith.  Within days the diagnosis of D.S. was confirmed through an amniocentisis.  At that time the cystic hygroma alone made Mason's prognosis of survival only 10%.  And so...we started praying, a whole lot of us!  Cory and Meagan and their family felt the most direct impact of all the updates, twist and turns, the downright roller coaster of physical and emotional changes that came with this pregnancy.  But they held their faith and a massive prayer army formed and grew.  And on each update from Meagan we prayed for specific things.  And through it all God was faithful, as he always is.  Meagan endured physical pain like no one should have to, including multiple amniotic reduction procedures because Mason's various physical condition caused buildup of excess amniotic fluid.  They endured legally having to hear the "option" of terminating their pregnancy (which happens in 93% of pregnancies with Down Syndrome and 98% of pregnancies with Cystic Hygroma).   They endured the torn emotions of healthy pregnancies and babies close to them.  They prayed through not being able to prepare to bring home a healthy baby and instead made "alternative" birth plans depending on if Mason made it to delivery.  They had frequent sonograms and check-ups to keep a close eye on Mason and each one seemed to bring conflicting information...this is good but this is bad, this is better than last time but now we have this to worry about.   They dealt with the emotions of praying their baby would be born and survive and knowing if he was he would always be "different" and the struggles that would bring.  They walked through the process of preparing special clothes and a blanket for Mason upon the very real possibility that he would not survive.  All this while trying to support each other and be great parents to their little 1 year old boy.  And through it all they stood fast in their faith and so did we...and we PRAYED! 
And God stayed faithful as well and SHOWED His presence, through many ways, small special gifts, the perfect verse shared right when it was needed, tiny messages sent from above. 
Mason made his surprise arrival on Apr. 22, about 1 month early, at 6lbs 14 oz and 18.75 inches.  He did wonderful, needing only a little oxygen right away but quickly not even needing breathing assistance and learning to eat quite quickly.   This little miracle, who at one point was given a 3% chance of survival and the option of "termination", went home with his Mommy and Daddy, with no machines or meds, at 11 days old! 
Here's Mason at about 3.5 weeks old
Mason thrived and grew, even mastering breastfeeding, which can be challenging for some special needs babies.  Now obviously, the struggles weren't over.  Just because he was here and home he did still have a serious heart condition!  That wasn't just going to go away.   But while the Drs. expected Mason to go into inevitable heart failure within days of birth that didn't happen until he was around 5 weeks old!  Mason as put on medication at that time to help his heart and was monitored closely.  He continued to grow and thrive, with a few small hiccups, and defy the odds, meeting developmental milestones way ahead of expectations. 


Here he is at 3 months showing off his awesome head control
Mason eventually had open heart surgery in late September 2011 to correct his heart defect.  It was a rough road for a while but soon he was on the mend! 

Today Mason is a bouncing 2.5 year old who defies expectations!  And this month he was honored as 2014 "Heart Child" for the American Heart Association!  And, he's an awesome big brother now as well.  And will start preschool soon!
Meagan and Mason next to his fundraising artwork at the annual Heart Ball
Through Mason's journey Meagan and Cory's faith has been an inspiration to me and to so many others and I just had to share their journey with you.  They never doubt that Mason is their perfect gift from God, exactly how he is and I firmly believe that too. 
Read more about Mason's journey at Prayers for Mason or on his Facebook page.

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