Birth Story ~ September 12, 1996

The 7th child born of her dozen siblings, Jessica was the only one born at home. I love the precious memories I have of her birth, and now looking back, am so thankful that God allowed us to decide, out of our 12 children, to have her birth be at home. My water broke about 11 pm at night, and she was born around 5 a.m. The older children went to bed knowing . . .

they'd have a sibling in the morning. It was like Christmas, with all the children, peeking through our bedroom door, to welcome their baby sister. How I treasure that memory. Shortly after Jessica Joy was born, my husband held her up, prayed over her and dedicated her back to the Lord. Little did we know how real those words would be and how we would not take day by day for granted.

We are thankful for a personal friend who is a pediatrician who came and checked on her the day she was born, discovering a heart murmur, which can be typical of newborns. But he came back the next day, and it was still there, making it important for her to see a pediatric cardiologist. We are so thankful the way God planned all the details out . . . Had she been born in the hospital, her heart defects would have been discovered immediately, and she would have been wisked away, taking away that precious right-after-birth bonding time. She did not have to every test and every instrument hooked up to her. At six days of age we were blown away to little by little learn that her heart was quite complicated, unique and fragile. Her list of defects included Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD),Atrioventricular Canal Defect (AV Canal); Pulmonary Stenosis (PS);Double Outlet Right Ventrical, and Pulmonary Stenosis but in Oct. of 1997 during a catherization before her open heart surgery, they also added Tetralogy of Fallot, heterotaxy, CCAVC sub PS, Interrupted IVC, etc. (along with other things).

The first year of her life held us in limbo. The pediatric cardiologists wanted her to get to a certain weight and over a year old. We certainly treasured that first year, not knowing what the future would hold. She was able to go until 13 1/2 months before needing surgery.