James, born 2003
During my pregnancy, the doctors had a difficult time finding my son's heart on ultrasound. After about seven ultrasounds, they finally told me not to worry and that everything would be OK.
On December 2, 2003, my son was born. A perfect little miracle! He was my older son's twin (who's seven years older). We couldn't believe how much they looked alike. I held him for a few minutes and then he was taken away. A few hours later, the nurses told me he was having difficulty breathing and was very cyanotic so they put him in the NICU. Several hours later, a pediatric cardiologist finally came into my room and told me that my son had a congenital heart defect and that he had a 50% chance of surviving. At that moment it felt like my world came to an end. How do you react to such devastating news? My perfect little baby boy was sick and I couldn't do anything to help him. They transported him to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where they would most likely perform surgery. I was allowed to hold him for 10 minutes before they put on all the machines and tubes and took him away. I don't think I have ever cried so much in my life!
At the hospital, they did a catherization where they ballooned open the tricuspid valve. He didn't do well the first few days when they tried taking him off his medication but when they tried a second time, he did a little better. After two weeks (the longest weeks of my life), the pediatric cardiologist felt my son would do better at home with his family. His oxygen levels were still very low so I had to take him to the PC office daily for about three weeks after we got home. Since then, my son has been getting better every day.
He is the most active, funniest, happiest child I've ever seen. I look at him and it's as if there's nothing wrong with him. People do not believe me when I say he has a CHD. He still requires open heart surgery but I don't know when it will take place. It's a waiting game as the pediatric cardiologist tells me.
I thank God everyday for blessing me with two wonderful boys. I pray everyday that he gives me strength to deal with this, to help my son get better and allow me to see him grow into adulthood. James has a long road ahead of him but he is a fighter and so are we. I have faith that things will work out.
James, we love you so much my little pumpkin! Be strong and we will always be there for you!
Story by James' mother, Betsey - New Jersey