I do a lot of thinking as I put Lauren to sleep at night. I thank the Lord for her and I think about what we've got planned for the day to come. Sometimes I think about everything that Lauren has gone through.

I found a note that I scratched down a few months ago about Lauren and that simply said that Lauren was not an accident. When I first found out about her condition, I assumed that it was my fault. It was a birth defect, I gave birth to her so I must have caused it. It was mind boggling because I was such a hippie while I was pregnant. I ate well, suffered drug-free through allergy season, and switched to all natural cleaners (or made Matt do it). In fact, ALCAPA is a random defect in the heart. It happens in 1 in 300,000 live births and occurs in the first few weeks of pregnancy as the heart is forming. There is no reason for it. There is nothing that I could have done to prevent it and I have to think that everything that I did do to keep Lauren healthy helped to give her the best chance possible.

Sometimes, when bad things happen, we want to find a reason for them. I don't know what the reason for Lauren's heart defect is but I know that God prepared us for it way before we knew about it.

Matt and I struggled to have a baby because of a few medical issues that I have. After a year and a half of frustration and being told that the issues I had would stop me from having a baby, we found a doctor who gave us hope and helped us get pregnant with Lauren. It was such an amazing blessing! At 8 weeks, we had an early ultrasound and first heard the baby's heartbeat. I remember looking over at Matt and seeing the tears in his eyes. He was already so in love.

At a checkup when I was 12 weeks pregnant, my doctor couldn't hear a heartbeat with his handheld machine. He assured me that it was still early, so I swallowed my nervousness and thought back to the heartbeat we had heard weeks ago. A week and a half later I was at my first appointment with my obgyn and I watched as the smile melted off of her face as the heartbeat was silent once again. She arranged for me to go for an emergency ultrasound to check if the baby still had a heartbeat. I was hysterical before I even left her office. Matt came home from work and kept me company until the appointment. I drank so much water that I couldn't even walk by the time we got there. I just wanted to make sure that the test would be successful.

I was shaking as the ultrasound technician started the test. He was quiet for what felt like a very long time before he asked, "Your doctor wasn't able to hear a heartbeat?"

"No," I said. "Is there a heartbeat?"

He simply stated, "Of course there is a heartbeat."

I lost it. I mean, lost it. I don't know if I had ever cried that hard ever before. The ultrasound technician actually apologized but I was crying because I was so happy and so relieved. My little baby was still there. She was just quieter than most.

As Matt and I walked out of that appointment and through all of the months that followed we would often say to each other, "Of course there is a heartbeat." We saw it as a promise, as reassurance, and as strength to get us through anything that we were worried about. Five and a half months after Lauren was born, we saw it as preparation. We don't know why we have gone through this, why Lauren was born with this defect, but well before we knew there was a problem, God was giving us the strength and reassurance that we needed to get us through it.

Even now we say it . . . Of course there is a heartbeat.

Our little girl was not born with a heart defect by chance. God knew that it was there and He was there with us through it all. Our little girl was fearfully and wonderfully made.

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