I took one look at Eloise's lab results and x-rays on Saturday and knew what needed to happen. I called her surgeon who was shoveling snow from her driveway, and told her we had to do the procedure which we had been debating. Monday would be too late. Eloise would be too sick, and then we wouldn't be able to do anything about it. Eloise was sliding downward, and I knew it.
This procedure was risky, and had quite literally never been done before. Our surgeon had been on the phone with doctors across the country consulting about potential solutions, and she presented an idea to me. I had several days to consider this idea, but there was no doubt in my mind last Saturday morning that it needed to happen, despite the risks.
Naturally, something like this takes several hours to organize. In the interim before surgery began, several surgeons, neonatalogists, nurses and respiratory therapists tried to dissuade me. I mostly heard: "You need to be a more positive thinker, the power of positive thinking is real!" Or, "Be an optimist, Eloise may fix this problem on her own. Don't be so negative." Or, "We've seen other children go through worse and heal on their own - where is your faith?"
It made me think: Where was my faith?
If Eloise could be cured by the amount of good people praying for her, or the sheer number of prayers offered on her behalf, she'd have been cured two weeks after she was born. I don't have faith in a miraculous healing for Eloise. I don't have faith that this chapter will end with happily ever after. I don't have faith that all will be well once she is home, or believe that in this life I will heal from the emotional and spiritual blow this has dealt me.
What I do have faith in is my intuition as a mother. I have faith in the spiritual promptings from God. I have faith in hard won knowledge. I have faith in the skills of our surgeon. I have faith that I will find love when it is needed, that love is the greatest power on earth. I have faith in the innate goodness of people, otherwise I could never leave Eloise in the care of strangers.
If your ship starts to sink, some see faith as God providing a patch-repair kit. It seems to me it is God providing a compass so you know where to start swimming when you have nothing else. You may drown before you reach shore; many cannot overcome the difficulties of life. But that doesn't mean our Father in Heaven doesn't love you, or that he's not there.
Today is the first day since Eloise was born that I have actually felt true hope, and it is because I had faith in my own strength and knowledge, which are gifts from God. I am so pleased with how well the procedure went, and while there is always a chance of failure, she is so much better than she has been in weeks.
Every single one of those dissuaders have since come to me, saying "That was definitely the right thing to do," and "It was a creative and untried idea, but it seems to have worked."
It was an act of faith.