A Matter of Heart

I bit my lip and swallowed more tears in those 12 minutes than I have in a long time.

I kept eye contact with the surgeon in between glances at my wife.

He talked us through the whole surgery. Calmly. Slowly. In easy to understand if not unsettlingly truthful terms.

Our five-month old son Nolan is scheduled for open-heart surgery on Tuesday January 14th.

The surgery will repair a heart defect he was born with called AVSD or AVCD.

Either way it means lots of prayer and lots of emotion.

Stacey and I have known about Nolan’s heart issues since Stacey was 19 weeks into pregnancy.

Nolan’s name literally means “Noble Champion” and that’s what he is to us.

He’s a happy, good-natured little man that is thankfully and graciously unaware of what he’s about to go through.

When confronted with bad news concerning their kids every parent I know would willingly trade places with their child.

In a way Stacey and I are able to do that.

Nolan is too young to understand what’s about to happen. He doesn’t need to worry before going to see the surgeon. He won’t be nervous on the drive in to the hospital.

We gladly do that for him.

Parenting sets you up for the greatest amount of joy and pain you’ll ever experience in this life. Nolan has provided us with both already.

I cried tears of joy when he was born and I’ll likely cry tears of hope as we hand him back to the doctors and nurses at Children’s hospital next week.

Surgery is expected to last three and half to seven hours.

Those hours figure to be difficult ones, but we have no choice but to hope and believe for a great outcome for our son.

We know that God is literally right there with us as we wait.

“If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.” (Psalm 34.18, The Message)

Please join us by praying and believing for a great outcome.

We know God loves Nolan dearly. We know that Jesus will be in the operating room holding our boy as they operate.

We believe in a God who is well able to heal our son.

This whole thing is a matter of heart for Nolan and for us.

We are trusting and depending on God to lead us through.

28 thoughts on “A Matter of Heart

  1. You and Stacey are so inspiring to me. You’re family is always in my prayers, and some extra prayers for next week. Guidance for the surgeon’s hands and peace and comfort for you and your family. If you guys need anything at all, if there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask. We love you.

  2. Andy & Stacie
    We will be praying For Nolan on the 14th, in the days before and in the days after as well. What a blessing your son has already been to my heart. Thank you for sharing him. Hugs from Ella.


  3. Nolan and the rest of your family are in our prayers. My baby brother also went through open heart surgery at Chlidren’s (a few times actually) and they are very good there. Nolan is in good hands (besides God’s) and I’m believing he will come through this amazingly! Let me know if I can do anything to help.

    Candace King

  4. I was thinking about you and Stacey all day yesterday. I can’t even image the amount of information that was presented to you both during a full day of appointments.
    It’s comforting to know that Nolan is in such great hands. Not only the best doctors, most amazing parents, but first and foremost, he’s watched over so closely by Jesus.
    Our family is praying for yours. Even our kids lift up little Nolan in their prayers.
    We love you guys!

    PS- I must say again that the above pic of Nolan that STACEY took 🙂 is pretty much the best pic ever!

  5. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Stacey and little Nolan. I am believing with you that Gods hand will be on all of you. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is able, He is ABLE, He is ABLE. I pray for peace, for calm and I pray for quick, whole healing for Nolan. Hugs to you all~

  6. We will also be praying with the thousands of others for complete healing of Nolan’s heart, the doctors skill and wisdom, and for peace, strength and faith that moves mountains for you and Stacey.

  7. So touched by your beautifully written and from-the-heart post about your precious little Nolan. I will be joining the mighty army of prayer warriors who count it a privilege to lift you and your son up to the Father as he undergoes this surgery. When fear would crush you, may hope and peace embrace you.

  8. Tyrell and I will be praying for little Nolan and you and Stacy. It is a difficult road to walk down but God will be with you every step of the way. We love you guys. Please let us know if we can help.

  9. Your entire family are always in our thoughts and prayers. We will be sending out extra prayers on the 14th not only for God to be with Nolan, but also that he will send his angels to keep you calm during the surgery.

    Love always,

    Sara & Isa Cruz

  10. You are and will be in the Nelson family’s prayers, all of you. I cannot imagine your fear as you hand him over to the drs. I pray that the peace that surpasses ALL understanding surrounds you throughout this procedure. Little Nolan is a lucky boy to have you for his parents. God knew what He was doing when He gave Nolan to you and Stacey. Blessings to your entire family. Lots and lots of love sent your way. We miss you all and promise to keep you in prayer!!! XOXOXO

  11. Lord, I know you love your servants, the Jones’, and I know you love little Nolan. I ask that you guide the surgeon’s hands during surgery; that every move each of the staff makes is directed and focused on healing his little body. We thank you SO much for the life you blessed him with, and ask that you continue to Nolan him be a blessing to all of us. We know you have great things in store – that the best is still ahead of him, and if it is in your will, Lord we ask that you give us a long time with Nolan, so that we can enjoy your creation only a fraction as much as YOU enjoy him. Please wrap your arms around this family and give them peace and comfort during the stressful, emotional days ahead. We trust your perfect plan, and pray for wisdom when things seem so cloudy. Thank you, God, for your promises. We love you and we ask your blessings on this family. AMEN! and AMEN!

  12. What Jodi Detrick said. 😉

    Andy and Stacey, if this wasn’t such a private Family event I want you to know that I would be right there with you at Children’s during this surgery on our sweet Nolan. I will settle for written prayer cards in my car so that I can pray all day long as I drive. I will watch your page Andy, waiting for the good news that I know will come.

  13. Andy and Stacy, our family prays for Nolan. We have gone through this with our daughter when she was 3 weeks old. We found out 2 days after she was born that she had a rare heart defect and 3 holes. Prayer does amazing miracles. The emotions were scary and the information we got from her heart team was overwhelming. Your post brought back so many memories. Ya’ll have been given a beautiful little boy who is full of sunshine and love. That alone will give him fighting spirit to overcome his obstacle. Babies are so incredibly strong and heal so quickly. Our daughter was in PICU 4 days and home on day 8 post surgery. February 14, 2008 was the day God helped heal our precious baby and I pray daily for your baby’s recovery. My words cant even express how much I know and feel the fears and hope you and family are experiencing. Much love and hugs on his day of surgery and remember you will need rest during his recovery so ya’ll will stay healthy. Its stressful but his PICU team will become your family and its ok to let him rest in their care while you take naps and re energize. PICU nurses are true angels. Take care and many blessings

  14. Sending lots of love and prayers in Nolan’s and your family’s direction. From the picture above, it’s no doubt such a little being looks like a true fighter. What a blessing for you to have him, and for him to have you both. <3

  15. Andy and Stacy, When we trust in God and ask for HIS WILL it all works out. We found out almost 13 yrs ago (Feb 9’01) that our daughter, Ilyssa’s hole didn’t close within 24hrs. Later from her Cardiologist, we learned her pulmonary valve was narrow. Two wrongs made a right for 8 mos. She had heart surgery at 81/2 old (closed hole, inlarged valve), hospital 7 days, meds for 6 weeks. And this yr she’s healthy and in cross-country / track. I had prayed for Gods will for both of us. I didn’t want a C-section last one was a bad recovery. Our daughter was 8lb 4oz there would have been problems if she had turned and I tried to deliver her with a heart condition. God knew what we both needed, the right doctors, etc. We are still monitoring her pulmonary valve and might have to have it replaced. When we dedicate/ give our children back to God, He takes care of them. We are thankful that God had his hand on her and all her doctors. The surgery was late starting but done in 4.5 hrs.

    As Kim says rest. I let others help. I had grandparents that helped with the older sisters, while we were took turns at the hospital. If you have other children pray for them too. They care for their sibling like we do. I’ll be praying for God to give you all peace and comfort.

  16. my prayers are with you and your son…it’s a blessing they find the problems and then fix them…god will be holding you too as your son is in surgery…the family talked about it at the xmas party…just know that all the love will see him through this too…please keep us updated…prayers it is…

  17. Andy & Stacy, our hearts go out to you during what we know will be a very hard day for you both. We will be keeping you and Nolan in our prayers and know that God will be looking over him.

  18. I had 2 holes within my heart when i wus born.
    I prey with u all for him. Im glad he made it.
    He looked like a verey young pastor in that pic u guys put up.

    I’ll keep preying for a full recovery

    Ur pray friend,

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