Tuesday, February 5, 2008

i carry your heart with me by e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
--e. e. cummings

I was looking for a heart poem for today, and came across this one by E. E. Cummings. Someone writing about it said, "The poem could almost be called a sonnet. It has nearly the right number of lines in nearly the right combination. But, typical of a Cummings poem, it goes its own direction and does so with great effect." I think that's a good description.

I haven't posted much by Cummings, though he's a very famous poet. Some people are confused by his experiments with (or without) punctuation and capitalization, but I think I understand. It's hard to punctuate a poem. Very often, you're not using complete sentences, just thoughts or phrases strung together. By abandoning the typographical conventions that go with prose, he's making it clear that what he's writing is not prose. I think it's kind of cool.

We finally got to see a cardiologist about Elizabeth's heart murmur today. She had an echocardiogram done at the hospital, but I've had a hard time getting anyone to tell me what the results were. I thought that my appointment today was to have somebody finally tell me about it, but the doctor was surprised to hear that it had been done, and certainly didn't have a copy. At any rate, they did an EKG and another Echo today, and told me the results immediately. It seems that Elizabeth has 3 holes in her heart. The first, called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is so tiny they wouldn't measure it because any number she came up with would be inaccurate. The second, called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is about 3 mm across -- the doctor says that's small. These first two holes exist in all babies before they're born and close within the first days or weeks of life in most babies. For many though, they persist for a while and cause few or no symptoms until they close on their own. We probably wouldn't have noticed them if they weren't looking closely because of the third.

The third, the one that's causing the murmur, is called a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). It lets blood move from the left ventricle to the right, when they shouldn't be mixing at all. The doctor tells me that this hole is "very small" (1.5 mm) and since it's down low in the muscular area, it'll most likely close on its own too.

The baby was very patient with the whole proceedings today. She slept for the hour they had us sit in the waiting room (I'm pretty sure they told all the morning patients to come for a 10:00 appointment, and hoped they'd get done with all of us by noon). Then she quietly submitted to the EKG -- where they pretty much covered her with electrode stickers and wires, then only complained a little when they pulled them all off. She was annoyed to be stripped naked and put down on the hard flat surface of the scale to be weighed and measured, but calmed down again when I held her and put her diaper back on. I gave her a quick feeding while we waited another 20 minutes for the doctor, so she was pretty contented for the echocardiogram (which is pretty much an ultrasound of the heart), sucking on a pacifier and holding my fingers so she wouldn't wiggle and bump the technician.

Elizabeth has no symptoms other than the murmur. She doesn't turn blue when she cries, have trouble breathing, get listless, or have any trouble gaining weight (she's put on a full pound since she was born). Both my Pediatrician and the Cardiologist say that these are nothing to worry about, and will probably fix themselves, but we should keep an eye on them just to make sure. This makes me feel very secure.

It's almost scary to have a baby as perfect as Elizabeth. She eats well, is gaining weight, sleeps astonishingly well (she only wakes me up once at night, eats, and goes right back to sleep), and is pleasant all day -- hardly fussing at all. She's also universally acknowledged to be the most beautiful baby anybody has ever seen. If there has to be something wring, I'm glad that it's as simple as this.


  1. Karen,
    I didn't know Elizabeth had a heart murmer. I'm glad that they think everythign will be okay and that everything should fix on it's own.

    it does sound like she's a really good baby.

    When are peter's parents coming out.

  2. I'm glad to hear that the doctors aren't worried about her heart. And even more glad to hear she's a pleasant and enjoyable baby to have as a daughter. I'm sure she feels just as happy about having attentive and loving parents.

  3. It's good that you know about her heart now, and you might want to be sure in later years that it does eventually close those holes. They can be confident, but I think they should be sure at some point, you know?
    I'm glad she's such a happy baby!

  4. We'll be going back to the Cardiologist in 6 months to check again, and meanwhile the Pediatrician will be listening. Nobody is taking it for granted that they'll take care of themselves, it's just that nobody is worried in the meantime. Our doctors are taking good care of her.

    Lesli, I'm not sure of the specific timetable, but Peter's parents will be here for the blessing on the 17th.


  5. Hi Karen,

    I'm so glad you have gotten good reports about her heart. And about her being so pretty and so good-- just accept and enjoy!

    Love, Kathey

  6. Wow, that's great. (Kate's still not sleeping through the night, the little goober.)

  7. i just love this ee cummings piece.. thanks for posting this :).