open heart surgery

‘WHAT am I going to do with a sick baby?’ I was 18. Her heart began to give out, her little belly filled with blood.’: Teen loses daughter to congenital heart disease, donates 455 oz. of breast milk to save sick babies in NICU  

“In 73 days, I never got to hear her cry. I never got to feed her or take her home. I spent the next couple of weeks in a dark hole. ‘We can’t do anything else for you, I’m sorry.’ I couldn’t save my baby, so I decided I would save others. I turned my pain into something beautiful.”

‘It’s nothing. Don’t worry.’ She had abnormal, starry blue eyes. A checkup for a mild cough changed our lives forever.’: Mom births baby with Williams Syndrome, ‘genetic disorder or not, we will love her more each day’

“Her low birth weight was dismissed. The doctor told us her heart murmur would ‘dissipate on its own’ and she would be just fine. Little did we know, these were the very first signs. As much as I wanted to convince myself nothing would be wrong, I had a gut-wrenching feeling. My mama heart just knew. They failed us.”

‘Your baby’s heart is on the wrong side.’ I cried. ‘PLEASE be with him, I don’t want him to be alone.’: Mom devastated to learn of newborn’s heart defect, wishes she could ‘take his place’

“The sonographer went very quiet and kept putting her body in strange positions. She said the baby was laying awkwardly. We had to sign papers prior to his surgery warning us of the risks… death being one of them. We were so helpless. He was so tiny. It didn’t seem fair. I was so excited to see my little boy and give him a big kiss.”

‘The magnitude of your child being born. No words. She did this for us, TWICE.’: Mother overcome with emotion watching surrogate deliver second daughter, ‘I gained a bond I never even knew existed’

“It was 6 months post my 4th open heart surgery. I was celebrating turning 26, a milestone my mother and doctors never thought I’d reach. That night, I met Ryan. ‘You don’t want to be interested in me. I have a lot of baggage.’ He replied, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘I’m probably going to die soon.’ Within 8 months, we were engaged. Not everyone approved of us looking for a surrogate, you know, because ‘I might die soon.’”

‘The baby is going to suffer. We can take care of this right now.’ They told me to abort him.’: Mom says she came to ‘peace’ with her son’s Down Syndrome diagnosis, he became a ‘warrior’

“’I don’t know what’s wrong, but please fix him!’ She was treating my son like a mole that could simply be removed and thrown in the trash. I knew I had to protect him. Handing him over to the surgeons knowing I may never see my baby boy again was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We are better people because of Eli.”

‘If this ruptures, it will kill your wife and baby.’ My wife looked at me. ‘Save the baby.’ Our excitement turned to dread.’: Mom births baby with Complex Congenital Heart Disease, dad in awe of son’s ‘strength, resilience’

“Two months before our due date, I heard my wife scream, ‘Brian, come quick!’ I hurried upstairs to find her crouched on the bathroom floor, groaning in pain. After hours in the waiting room, I was called back to see her. Even under all the stress and exhaustion, she looked beautiful. ‘Can you handle a child like this? With heart defects?’ We both answered, ‘Yes.’ We never felt so scared in our lives.”

‘Is this the last time I can kiss him?’ I’d just learned my baby had Down syndrome. Now, he was blue, floppy, and not breathing.’: Mom says baby with Down syndrome, heart defects has taught her to ‘focus on the positive things in life’

“5 minutes into our drive, he began crying but stopped. I found it odd. It was a cry I hadn’t heard before. The light turned red, I pulled over. In seconds, I was down on my knees in the middle of the road, holding my floppy baby. ‘God, this can’t be it. Please don’t take my baby away!’ Giving mouth to mouth, I screamed his name for him to wake up. When he ambulance arrived, Noah was going in and out of consciousness.”

‘She’s beautiful, but something’s wrong with her heart.’ HOW? I was only 23! I clapped my hands over my face and WEPT.’: Mom births baby with Truncus Arteriosu, says motherhood is all about ‘rolling with the punches’

“My husband drove me down to the waterfront, my idea of motherhood now a pile of dust and rubble. Was I really made for this? We’d both been crying for several hours. He opened the envelope. ‘It’s a girl!’ his voice cracked. When they wheeled her away, we gave our final kisses. No matter how long she was with us, Shirley was a gift.”

‘We begged her to let go. She kept fighting to stay with us. ‘We’ll be together soon. You need to go home,’ we said.’: Mom says daughter suffering from CHD ‘passed peacefully in my arms,’ is ‘finally at peace’

“We went to see Cora for the last time. I washed her hair and gently cleaned her body with a washcloth. I dressed her in our favorite headband and swaddled her tightly. Her sister gave Cora a kiss on her forehead. We told her to say goodbye. ‘Bye bye, Baby Cora.’ My mom took our eldest away so she could pass with my husband and I alone. She was so beautiful, looking at us with such deep love in her eyes.”

‘Don’t take her home with you,’ I was told. ‘If you have other kids, she’ll be a detriment to them.’ How wrong they were.’: Mom keeps baby, now world’s first ‘working model’ with Down Syndrome

“I’d never taken Madeline to a fashion show before because she was always sick. When her health increased, we walked in as I thought to myself, ‘What have I done?!’ I knew full well my daughter would want to be on that catwalk, too. Sure enough, after the show, she turned to me and said, ‘Mom. Me. Model.’ I’m the type of mom to do whatever I can to make things happen. Little did I know what this all would turn into.”

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