Laura, born 1998
Laura is our third child. I never thought any of my kids would not be born healthy, but it happened. During our routine ultrasound, the technician saw that Laura had a two vessel umbilical cord instead of the normal three vessel. Our doctor said that it could be a fluke, or it could mean a neurological defect or a cardiac defect. But not to worry, things were probably ok. I didn't even worry when they couldn't see all of her heart. She was active, and just wasn't cooperating. So we finished off the pregnancy and Oct. 7, 1998, Laura came into our lives.
Our nightmare started that evening when she started turning blue during her first bath. Her pediatrician and another attending doctor said something was very wrong and she needed to be flown to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. So, I held her hand through the incubator and said a prayer.
That night was the longest I had to date. We went to the city the very next day and got her diagnosis. TGA, DORV, VSD, Pulmonary Stenosis, PDA, WPW, and later we would find out about a vascular ring. Her cardiologist and her colleagues performed a balloon septostomy, and we took her home after three days with digoxin and lasix. I gave her a bath at the hospital and was thrilled when she poo'd on my shoe. "That's my girl!"
Her septostomy failed ten days later as I was feeding her, so we took our dusky blue baby back to have another septostomy. That one stayed open. Luckily, we were able to keep her stable to grow bigger for her Bilateral Glenn Shunt and pulmonary banding one year later at Mayo Clinic.
Operation number two was her modified Fontan in 2001 at Mayo again, and she also had her WPW ablated, so it wouldn't cause more trouble for her after surgery. After a month in the hospital, she recovered very nicely, and moved on to bigger and better things.
Laura is our smiley, precocious child, and loves life. We know she will face future surgeries, and like all of us parents, we worry just a little more for our CHD kids. But they are all in the good hands of our talented doctors and surgeons, and of course, God is always with us.
UPDATE: MAY 2010
Laura is eleven now, and doing well. She has been taken off one of her medicines since she was getting too many dizzy spells. She will be having an exercise stress test and a holter monitor test this year. She doesn't like those. She feels like she is plugged into something like a robot. This summer, we are going to try to let her go to a camp up in Northern Minnesota called Camp Odayin. This camp is wonderful! We live too far away to attend the Little Hearts annual picnic but we will be thinking of everyone that day and Laura hopes the picnic will be as fun as she hopes her camping experience will be.
Thank you for this website. We treasure every story and know that if we have to go through life with a condition like CHD, there is support and love to help all the families and children through it.
Story by Laura's mom, Kim - MINNESOTA