One in 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. Our sweet Matthew is one of those 100.
At formation, his heart sort of "twisted up." He heart has a large hole, his two main arteries are switched and come off of the same ventricle, his pulmonary artery is narrowed, and his valves criss-cross into the wrong chambers (that's his biggest problem).
He's one in eight million. He's our lightning strike.
Because of the complexity of his heart, he was not able to have a corrective procedure as some kids are. At 7 months and 3 years of age, he underwent open heart surgeries at Egleston to perform a bypass. So, his blood flow does not go through the heart, like mine and yours does, it goes straight to the lungs to try to reduce the workload of his heart.
Despite the complexity of his heart, and two open heart surgeries, God has blessed us with a wonderful, healthy, happy boy. He is active in church, sports and the gifted program at school. He has tons of friends, he loves life and especially people, and he wants to change the world in some way.
Twenty or 30 years ago, Matthew may not have made it. The advancements in technology and research, combined with an awesome cardiologist, Dr. Neill Videlefsky and surgeon, Dr. Kirk Kanter, and most of all, God's grace, have allowed him to live a very healthy life and look forward to a healthy future - however long that may be.
We are forever grateful to Dr. V and staff at Pediatric Cardiology Services, and Dr. Kanter and staff at Children's at Egleston and Sibley Heart Center for the compassionate, loving care provided to Matthew and to our family during our time there. We are also so grateful to Shannon and Kati and the Kids at Heart staff for their hard work making yearly activities, especially Camp Braveheart, such a memorable experience for Matthew and other heart kids each summer! It's the highlight of his year!
I tell the story often that after Matthew's second surgery, the Fontan procedure, we could not get him to smile. It the first time in his life that nothing would make him smile. It was pretty scary and very upsetting to see this happy baby so down.
The nurses were not having it.
They tried and tried to find something that worked. Eventually one of them said, I'll be right back. She came back with clowns and magic tricks, and it was just what he needed.
We got our smile back from our sweet boy, and he hasn't stopped smiling since.
Thank you all at Children's for the love you give to families during their darkest moments.
You are all truly the BEST!