“I can tell just by looking,” the nurse explained. “You’re going to have a boy.” Then, with his stethoscope pressed to my mother’s belly, the doctor added, “I hear two heartbeats, though one is fainter than the other. Looks like you’re having twins.”
My parents have often told me this story, mostly at my request; because in 1973, the doctors and nurses couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, for many hours I didn’t have a name. Or, rather, I did, but John David would have sounded strange when addressing a girl. So, from just before noon until around midnight – a few days later – my parents batted around girl names – Sharon, Heather, April, and a million more besides.
To my knowledge, I waited quite patiently. Who was I to rush them?
But this story is about more than a name. It is about living with a congenital heart defect and the choices I made to not let it rule my life. In fact, it is thanks to Dr. Bloom, who many moons ago, said, “you know your body best. Listen to it and let it guide you.” I took that advice to heart. That advice, coupled with loving family and friends as well as fantastic doctor, nurses, and other health professionals from around the world have made possible for me a life well-lived.