Catherine, born 2009
On April 23, 2009, I went for my 37 week checkup and found the fetal heart beat was irregular. My doctor had an ultrasound done and since I had low amniotic fluid and what they thought a huge drop in the heart rate, I was admitted to the hospital. Once I was all hooked up to the machines, the baby's heart rate was normal but since it skipped every third beat and not sure what was causing this, I had an emergency c-section.
Catherine Ann was born at 8:34pm at 37 weeks and 3 days. She was doing fine on her own and her only symptoms at birth were the heart beat and a weak femoral pulse. After four days of testing in the hospital, a second echocardiogram showed Coarctation of the Aorta in the descending part of her aorta. We were transferred to CHOP with the understanding she would have surgery very soon to correct it. After more testing and echocardiograms in the CICU for 24 hours, we were moved to the Cardiac Care Unit since she was stable and not high risk. Catherine’s PDA finally closed and 24 hour hours later and at nine days old, we were able to bring her home on May 1. We were overjoyed that we were finally bringing our baby girl home, but had to visit our cardiologist back home every week for close monitoring.
At the end of May, it was recommended we go back to CHOP for a testing in mid-June. The day after her cardiac MRI, got a call to schedule her surgery. We were scared and nervous, but the support and love of our family, friends and doctors and nurses got us through the hardest time of our life. On July 2nd, she had surgery and did extremely well and was actually discharged 2 days later on July 4th and went home with only Tylenol. What a heart warrior she is!
To this day, Catherine is an active and very happy toddler. Both her cardiologist and pediatrician are thrilled with her recovery and growth. She is off the charts in height and 90's for weight. We are so thankful for the doctors and nurses in the cardiac unit and the quick thinking of my OB! Catherine makes us smile and laugh every day.
Story by Catherine’s mom, Patti - NEW JERSEY