Caden, born 2005
Our little miracle was born on July 18, 2005. Previously, I had two back to back miscarriages and feared I might loose him too. As I held Caden, my ten pound bundle of joy, I remember thinking that I could finally relax.
At birth he had a heart murmur but the doctor said it was probably "just a valve that had not closed yet and would do so on it's own." She said all looked well and nothing to worry about. She set us up with a pediatric cardiologist for the day we were to be discharged just to ease our minds.
When Caden was about twenty four hours old, he went into respiratory distress. His breathing became very labored and his jaundice levels rapidly rose. The pediatrician was called in at 4:30 a.m. That morning, we were supposed to be discharged home but instead we followed the ambulance to Devos Children's Hospital. It was only a forty five minute drive but it seemed to take forever.
After arriving, the PC did an echo and CT scan. Caden was diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta (COA) and a valve issue. We were told he would need surgery. Later the surgeon came in and surgery was set for 7:30 the next morning. Talk about shock! No sleep the night before; learning our baby had a serious heart defect; and we now had 12 hours to accept everything and prepare for surgery. Not to mention deciding what to tell our three other children since we were not coming home right away with their baby brother.
The next day, Caden was sedated in the OR but surgery was canceled because he suddenly sounded a bit "strange". We then found out he had pneumonia too. After getting over the pneumonia and jaundice, Caden was discharged at twelve days. His heart condition was now stable enough to hold off on the surgery. The doctors hoped to wait as long as possible so he would get stronger. Maybe even wait until he was about a year old. Soon his narrowing became worse. We were told he might have three months before having major problems. So at five weeks of age, Caden had his COA repaired. He did really well with surgery.
In November, his COA reappeared and was causing blood pressure problems. We were told by his doctor that most COAs never reappear but Caden was one of the few they had warned us about. In February, he had a balloon angioplasty to re-open the narrowed area. They immediately saw improvement with the previously operated COA but also found another narrowed area in the arch of the aorta and checked the previously diagnosed valve issue.
At this time, they are not causing any functional problems so they will continue to monitor all three of his heart defects. Currently he has no pending procedures and since his angioplasty, he is doing wonderfully. He is now off all meds and is a very happy and energetic little boy with no developmental delays or growth issues.
Story by Caden's mom, Shannon - MICHIGAN
Brianna, born 2000
Catherine, born 2009