Charlie, born 2008
When I was 16 weeks pregnant, I noticed the technician was concentrating on one area of Charlie's heart. She excused herself to get the doctor before I could ask if everything was okay. The doctor said it was a boy but could not get a clear view of his heart. She handed me a list of hospitals to choose from and we chose CHOP.
My husband and I walked into a room for the fetal echo; it was the longest 45 minutes of our lives. Afterwards, we were led into the conference room. I looked at my husband and couldn't help but have a bad feeling and started to cry. The pediatric cardiologist entered the room and the only thing I recall hearing was that our baby had Tricuspid Atresia, COA, and TGA. We were given the three options but Charlie was meant to be in our lives - he had a mission and his mission was to live.
My due date came and went so the doctors decided to induce me March 2nd. At 3:28 a.m. Charlie was born weighing 7 lb 15 oz. As soon as he was born they led him into the next room and I only had a quick glimpse of him. The hospital staff to my surprise brought Charlie in my room. I wasn’t able to hold him but we were grateful to have Charlie baptized. The whole time his eyes never left my site he already knew who his mommy was. I tried to contain myself but sadness took over. My husband stayed by his side once he was settled in at CHOP.
That morning I was finally able to visit Charlie and saw him hooked up to all those monitors and IVs. It was also the first time he met his big sister. His surgery was set for the following day with Dr. Spray. Through the echo and x-ray it was determined that Charlie had Double Inlet Left Ventricle.
The day of surgery, we were able to hold Charlie for the first time. I took a picture of him knowing that his body would never look the same and kissed and prayed to God to look after my boy. We had a brief conference with Dr. Spray and were led into the family room awaiting details by our nurse. Dr. Spray met with us afterwards and told us the surgery was a success. We saw Charlie with his “his zipper” and hoped he wasn’t in pain. Days were long but nights were longer but grateful to have nightly visits from family; it’s beautiful to see that this little guy was loved by so many.
Charlie was having difficulty holding food down and blood in his stool so they delayed feeding him until he had a 24 hour day of no problems. Slowly, one by one, the lines were removed and on day 12, Charlie was finally discharged.
I try to keep myself occupied; taking endless photos of everyday events, trying to both mentally and physically prepare for the next surgery. It’s strange that it’s only been 4 months but it feels like a lifetime ago that Charlie was in the hospital only to relive it once more in the next upcoming weeks. Looking back in the last year it makes it all worthwhile looking into his blue eyes for this little guy has left his imprint in all of our hearts and lives.
Story by Charlie's mom, Senalda - NEW JERSEY