Christopher, born 2002
After battling with unexplained infertility, my husband and I, fully prepared for adoption, gave In Vitro Fertilization a chance. Only three eggs were viable for transfer and to our amazement, one actually implanted. At six weeks we watched the little flutter of a heart beat; at 14 weeks we heard that heart beat and at 19 weeks we were told we should abort because the heart had a defect.
Now, I have been a neonatal ICU nurse for over eight years but at that moment, I became a parent. I wanted a pediatric cardiologist to give me the good, the bad and the ugly and we got it all - Pulmonary Atresia with Intact Ventricular Septum. We were again given the option to abort but were also presented with a wide variety of possible outcomes; from fetal death to living till after 45 with multiple surgeries. After many tears and with overwhelming support from the doctors and staff, we opted to leave it in God's hands. Our only prayers were to know when enough was enough and the strength to deal with it when that time came.
We were blessed July 30, 2002 with a 7lb 4oz baby boy - pink, healthy and mad as heck! He breastfed for a couple of days, then required tube feeding as he was getting tired easily. At one week of age, he had his first and so far only, open heart surgery. They removed the blocked valve and placed a BT shunt. For a few days it was touch and go. It was determined that his shunt had a kink in it and they could either let him wake up to see if the increased pressures would help or take him back to surgery. We prayed to God that if this was "enough" to give us a sign, a really clear one. They allowed him to wake up and that night he was extubated and in my arms! That was the clearest sign we could have hoped for!
Today, he's a funny, happy, healthy, wild little boy whom you would never know had any kind of heart defect. He is the light of our life and we can't imagine living without him. Every day we look at him, we thank God we decided to leave it in his hands. What a blessing he's been. His right ventricle, that was about 1/4 the size it should have been, is growing beautifully, his atrial septal defects are getting smaller and might close on their own....might, and in the near future, he'll have to have his shunt removed.
Until then, we enjoy each and every moment with him because we know how lucky we are to have enjoyed pregnancy, birth and parenthood. We also know we are one of the lucky ones and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who've ever lost a child. Thank you for reading our story. We wish it brings you hope
Story by Christopher's mom, Laurie - North Carolina