Interrupting my hiatus for a public service announcement!
Today through Feb. 14, it's CHD Awareness week. My son, Luke, has a CHD story, so I wanted to do my part and spread a little awareness. I hope you don't mind.
CHD stands for congenital heart defect. It is a problem with your heart present at birth. They're the most common birth defect, effecting about 1 in 100 live births. There are 35 known CHDs, and sometimes kids are born with two or three or four. Luke had three -- a ventricular septal defect, an atrial septal defect and coarctation of the aorta. The first two -- the septal defects -- are a fancy way of saying a hole in the ways of the heart chambers. They're the most common type of defect, and sometimes they close on their own. Others need surgery to fix. Luke also had the "coarc," which means his aorta, the part of the heart that feeds blood to the left and bottom half of your body, was kinked like a big garden hose. Depending on the severity, this can require open-heart surgery or a cath procedure to fix.
|Luke at about four days old, in the NICU before his surgery.|
|Me holding Luke for the first time in five days. He was 6-days-old and about to go into open-heart surgery at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor.|
|Luke following his surgery.|
|Luke at one-month-old, home and healthy!|
Lastly, if your child is at the beginning of a CHD journey, perhaps still in growing inside you, please have hope. CHDs are far from a death sentence. My Luke is a great example of that. There are a lot of amazing surgeons out there doing amazing things every single day. Take a look at this Pinterest board: The Faces of CHD. You'll see a lot of stories that involve scary times, and yes, some children don't make it. But the majority of the stories you'll see kids who wind up being described as energetic, healthy, happy, and "normal." There's hope.