Matthew, born 2007
Our ultrasound was scheduled for February 26th. We were excited to see if our third child would be a boy or a girl. We never imagined anything could go wrong with our baby. During the ultrasound, we saw that our baby was a boy. The ultrasound seemed to be taking such a long time. Then the nurse said they needed to get a doctor as they were having trouble seeing the heart. The doctor told us there was a problem; our baby had HLHS and briefly told us what that meant. We were numb. They set us up with a pediatric cardiologist who explained what HLHS was and told us our options.
Our first option was that we didn't have to continue the pregnancy. We told him straight out that that was not an option for us. Our second option was to do nothing when he was born and they would keep him comfortable until he died. Our third choice was a three staged surgery which we chose.
On July 7th, 2007 at 11:50 PM, Matthew was born. He looked perfect. We couldn't believe that there was anything wrong with him, especially something that could take his life.
They cleaned him up and let us hold him for a couple of minutes and then took him to the NICU. They told us they would be checking him over and then we could see him before they moved him to Children's Hospital. After about an hour, they came to take us to Matthew. He was so tiny and he looked so healthy. They let us hold him and he just kept looking at my face. It was so hard to let him go. I didn't want him to go through this alone. I was his Mom and I was supposed to be with him to protect him. I reminded myself that God was with him always.
The surgeon was out of town so Matthew's surgery was scheduled for July 19th. For the days that followed, I would sit at the hospital and hold Matthew and tell him how much he was loved and told him about his family and the people praying for him. If he was going to die, I didn't want it to be there. I wanted him to be able to experience life at home. I wanted him to see the outside. I prayed and prayed and prayed.
Matthew's first surgery lasted four hours. Within 5 days, Matthew was doing so well that he was moved from the CICU to a regular room. On the 26th, he was going home. After two weeks at home, I noticed that Matthew wasn't eating very well. I spoke to one of his nurses and we decided to have him go in for a check up. It turned out that Matthew was having problems. He was admitted to the CICU. While he was there, Matthew had gotten so upset when they tried to take his blood that he went into cardiac arrest. They resuscitated him and he was doing much better. Knowing that Matthew almost died was horrifying to me. Matthew was given a new medicine and after a few days he was home again.
Matthew continued to do so well that they scheduled his second surgery for September 24th. Again, the surgery went well and within the week, we went home.
Today, he continues to thrive. He is so active that it wears us out, how blessed we are. We are not given a guarantee on how long we will have anyone that we love. We try not to concentrate on Matthew's heart but to just love and enjoy him and give him as normal life as possible.
Story by Matthew's mom, Dee - PENNSYLVANIA