Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday

It is hard to believe that Little Man is two years old today (we are ignoring the fact that the twins will be 7 soon).
Of course every parent says it is hard to believe that their child is __ age. But Little Man carries a special story with him. He is my miracle child. While carrying full-term for me is a miracle in and of itself, Bradley redefined the term.
After having a rough first trimester, Little Man started to calm down and grow, and grow and grow. Every time I went in for a checkup they would tell me how much more he had grown past his gestational age. He was a week big, 2 weeks big, 3 weeks big. My doctor even gave me a term for it (not that I remember what it was). I knew he was going to come early, he was big, strong, healthy and ready to see his family. Little Man's due date was June 6, 2007, but after having the twins at 36 weeks, an extra 6 weeks of pregnancy sounded too long for me. At 39 weeks I was ready to pop, they told me he was 8 lbs. 8 LBS!! I knew that if I waited full term I'd have an 11 lb baby like my brother was. I did not want an 11 lb baby. I started walking stairs at lunch, eating spicy food, basically doing every wives tale there was on how to jump start labor. Of course nothing happened. At 40 weeks, they told me he was 8 1/2 lbs and gave me the choice to induce labor.
"Where do I sign up?"
I was scheduled for 7:30am on Tuesday, May 29, 2007, the day after Memorial Day. Dear Hubby dropped the twins off at day care and my mother in law took me to the hospital. It was a great day - and relatively easy. I had an epidural and started pushing about 3 o'clock. I won't gross you out with all the gory details. I will say that when he finally arrived at quarter to 4 and the doctor lifted him up for me to see I was in shock. HE WAS HUGE. My frame of reference is a little skewed as the twins were only 5lbs each when born, but that was a big baby!!!
9 lbs 4 oz , blue eyes, blond hair, just like his brothers and just like his Daddy. He was perfect. Although he did cry for two hours straight, but only because he was hungry. After that he never fussed, slept great, and was the apple of his Daddy's eye.
Everyone who came to see us thought he was beautiful, so I am not being biast. The day after was going well until the pediatrician on staff came into my room. She said "your son has a heart murmur. We found it in a routine exam, and it may be nothing, but we want to run another test, an Echocardiogram, just to be sure." I had chosen the hospital we were in for health reasons. Because I knew from previous experience, they were thorough and my son would be in the best hands. I didn't even call John to tell him about the test, because she said it may be nothing.
Two hours later a pediatric cardiologist walked into my room and I knew the pediatrician had been wrong from the moment the cardiologist introduced himself. No one should ever have to meet a pediatric cardiologist. He told me that my son has a rare (1 in 20,000) congenital heart defect known as Ebstein's Anomaly. Our son's tricuspid valve is not closing properly, leaving an opening for blood to leak back through the valve and into the right atrium. As a result, the right atrium becomes enlarged and if severe enough, congestive heart failure can result. Luckily our son's condition was not that severe. The cardiologist told me his right atrium was enlarged and our son had constant backflow. The doctor was great, he drew pictures and sat with me for over an hour.
It didn't matter. I lost it anyway; I thought it was my fault. Then he told me, no one knows what causes this defect. He also told me that CHD is the most frequently occurring birth defect, and is the leading cause of birth-defect related deaths. I was shocked. How could I not know? Over the next few days my husband and I did a lot of research and what I found was startling, not just about my son, but about all children with CHDs. According to the American Heart Association about 40,000 babies are born each year with heart defects. And nearly twice as many children die from congenital heart disease in the United States each year as die from all forms of childhood cancers combined.
The first few weeks of Little Man's life were tough.
We questioned everything. Would he have surgery? Would he be able to play sports? Would he get tired too easily?
We had to rearrange our world. We had to have and appointment with the pediatric cardiologist and got to watch the backflow on the echo. I had to switch insurance policies as quickly as possible to make sure Little Man would be covered no matter what happened. We learned what signs to watch for, how to take his heart rate. In July he had to go on a heart monitor for about a month because his heart rate was so high. It was hard, but I knew people were worse off than us. I knew that there were worse cases who were having to have surgery right then. We were lucky. We went back for our check ups at 3 months, 6 months, a year.
His first birthday was when we found our miracle. We went to the cardiologist for a echo to see how he was doing - and the defect was all but gone!!! The doctor said that he wouldn't even say he has a problem now and to come back in 2-3 years!!! Shocked, thrilled, releived, were only some of the emotions we were feeling. We had witnessed a miracle in our own son.
So today, we celebrate our miracle. I love you Little Man!

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone


  1. Hi! I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story and I really like the "seven hearts" thing you are doing too! My daughter was born with Ebstein's Anomaly and it has been hard to find other people familiar with this defect since it is so rare. I found your blog doing research for awareness week. I am so happy to hear that your son is doing well!


  2. popped back over tonight since i was bored. we have a 2.5 year old boy who had heart surgery at 23 months...and twin girlies. Life is crazy, no? :)

  3. Wow ... you have given me such hope ... I have CHD and never thought I could have kids ... but your story have given me the hope to find out more information and pursue my own path of motherhood!


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