Updated: May 24, 2020
Six years ago and 1 week before Christmas, our second Son was born, and unexpectedly with CHD (congenital heart disease). We will never forget that feeling of panic after Weston's birth, what was supposed to be one of the happiest times in our lives quickly turned into any parents worst nightmare. All ultrasounds throughout my pregnancy showed a healthy baby boy, so when Weston was born with a blueish skin color, the nurses knew he wasn't breathing right. They placed him on my chest for a brief few moments, then they took him away to run tests. It felt like forever while we waited in anticipation to hold our baby boy again. Daddy was still waiting for their first bonding moment!
The next time we got to see him we were already in the recovery room where he was wheeled in an incubator next to my bedside. We were told we had to say goodbye for now, as several other nurses stood around and watched us hold his little hand before he got transferred via ambulance to the NICU at Loma Linda Children's Hospital. Because I had chosen not to get an epidural like I did with our first, when my Doctor came to check on me, he said we could leave the hospital that day instead of the next to go see our baby boy. My motherly intuition definitely must have been my guiding decision to not get that epidural even though I was on Pitocin due to being induced.
Amidst this time of fear and wonder, we contacted my Mom to check in on our other other son, who was only 1 at the time. They are only 13.5 months apart (Irish Twins)! We also were stressing because we still needed to go home to check on our pets, including 2 dogs, 2 cats, fish, and a chameleon at the time. Yes, you guessed it, we are major Animal Lovers, and I was also working at Petsmart at the time, so I would come home with pets I fell in love with who were sick or injured and no longer could be on the store floor. I have never packed a bag of clothes and toiletry essentials so quickly in my life. You'd think I was going into labor in the middle of the night, not rushing to the NICU to see our baby boy who we had only spent a couple minutes with.
We quickly discovered just how important the Ronald House foundations that we all have seen donations for in the grocery stores truly are to families like ours. No one ever expects something like this will happen to their family, so we will always remember being welcomed into the wonderful Ronald McDonald House of Inland Empire in our desperate time of need. As the week went by we settled into our room we called home, as we took turns walking to and from the Children's Hospital across the street. By this time we had our oldest son staying with us in the Ronald Home because we needed to be with him, together as a family, even though he was too young to understand what was going on. We were offered to have him stay with family, but all we wanted to do was hold him and pray for the next time we could hold his little brother again too.
Throughout our visits we met so many kind and caring doctors, nurses, cardiologists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and i'm sure many more that I can no longer remember because some days were a complete blur to be honest. However, we will never forget spending both Christmas and New Years at the bedside of our son, listening to monitors beep instead of cheerful Holiday music. The place where we spent countless hours nervously waiting and praying to God while our baby boy underwent 2 major open heart surgeries. One, a zipper down his chest, and a second going up and down his left shoulder blade. Both were performed by Dr. Hassania alongside the famous Dr. Bailey, who sadly passed away last year.
I am happy to tell you that both surgeries were successful; however, 3 months down the road Weston did have to have another minor surgery, which we were told to expect the possibility of. This was due to some slight narrowing of the valve, so he had to also receive a balloon stent to prevent future narrowing. He now sees his Cardiologist yearly and is just like any other happy, healthy 6-year-old! Without his scars, you would never even guess what our tough Heart Warrior battled and conquered coming into this world!!!
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=) Whitney (=