You can imagine the joy when you find out you are expecting. This would be our first child and the first grandchild on both sides of mine and my husband’s family. My pregnancy was wonderful and I and my baby had no complications.
On March 10th, 2008 my husband and I went to the doctor for my 40 week appointment. After deciding that my fluid levels were too low, they decided to induce me that evening. We were so excited! Once we got to the hospital and settled in, they induced me and all was going well and I was progressing very quickly. After about 5 hours of contractions I decided on an epidural. Within the next few hours, they became concerned as our baby’s heart rate kept dropping which they said was probably due to the cord being wrapped around his neck. A c-section was decided on and within 45 minutes I was holding my baby boy, Dylan. He weighed 5lbs. 11oz. and was almost 18 inches long, which is pretty small for a full term baby but he was healthy regardless.
That morning was hazy, but I do recall a nurse coming into our room to take Dylan to the nursery for some routine testing. Dylan was only 5 hours old at the time. Within that next hour they came back in and said he was looking a little blue and they were going to call in a neonatologist and a cardiologist to run some tests to figure out the cause. They then took him down to the NICU and then came to tell us that Dylan was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot (also known as blue baby syndrome). After going into detail about Dylan’s type of TOF, the cardiologist then gave us information about the American Heart Association’s website. The website provided us an actual diagram, a description of the heart defect and surgery procedures and outcomes. This provided us comfort as we were in shock and needed as much information as possible about this defect for our own peace of mind.
After 2 days, we were transported to Riley Children’s Hospital and the next day Dylan underwent surgery to have a BT shunt place in his heart as a temporary fix until he was bigger to perform the surgery to repair his defect. This type of surgery is actually one of the first cardiac surgical procedures ever performed in the 1940s. It was unchartered territory before then to operate on the heart.
Dylan did great once we got home, but we had to make sure he did not cry too hard. The tips of his fingers and toes and around his lips were always a little blue and it got worse the bigger he got. When he did cry hard, he would start sweating, get a glazed look over his eyes and start turning blue. If we could not calm him, we would run the risk of him passing out from lack of oxygen. Thankfully, that never happened.
On November 11th, 2008 (Dylan’s 8 month birthday) he underwent open heart surgery to repair the defects at Riley. By this time, his oxygen levels were down to 60%. Again, we went home 5 days later which to us is miraculous. Our blue baby was now a pink baby! His doctors do not expect any other surgeries until he is a teenager and then that should hopefully be his last surgery.
Doctors, like Dylan’s, are saving babies lives all over the world, whereas these babies would have died without these procedures in the past. This can be contributed to the research and support of the American Heart Association. Dylan is now almost one and is a healthy baby that has no signs of what he has been through except for his scar from the open heart surgery. He is the toughest person I know and I cannot imagine my life without him.
My husband and I now support to the American Heart Association as do other members of our family. We are so thankful that there is an organization like the AHA that aides in the saving of lives in more ways than one. Now that Dylan’s surgeries are behind us and the future is looking bright, we are looking forward to participating in events that support the AHA and how we can give back since we have been given so much.
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