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A Letter to My Son's Congenital Heart Defects

Dear congenital heart defects,

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 1.44.46 PM You turned what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives into one of fear and shock. We learned Drew had transposition of the great arteries and two holes in his heart. You made me question my faith in God. How could he let this happen? We did everything right! I didn’t get to hold my baby right away… and then when I did, I was so scared. My baby was hooked up to so many machines and wires, and it was unclear if he would live or die. When his chest got infected during his recovery after his first open heart surgery, I thought, this is it. We’re gonna lose him. 

But you didn’t get him. He fought with everything he had. After a month, we were home, and he was recovering. Over the years, “normal” illnesses put him in the hospital. He took daily medication. It was hard for him to keep up with the other kids. I knew when he asked for extra pillows for Christmas something was wrong. When we heard the words, “congestive heart failure” I just cried. Not again! Please, not again!

Drew had his aortic valve replaced. It was a long, hard road, but he got out of the hospital and started his recovery at home. I told Drew to get out and run on the soccer field and swim laps at the pool. You seemed to wear him out fast, but I wanted him to get strong. Little did I know, you’d done severe damage to his ascending aorta during the previous open heart surgery. I hate you, congenital heart defects! I want you to go away!

He had his aorta fixed by catheter. He goes on knowing there will be more surgeries, and he will be a pioneer.

But I also want to thank you, congenital heart defects, for making me truly appreciate my children. For teaching me not to take life for granted, and ultimately for making my relationship with God stronger than ever. My heart warrior is amazing, and he will kick your ass.

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