February 7-14th is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Congenital Heart Defect, also known as Congenital Heart Disease, (CHD) is any birth defect which affects the heart or the large blood vessels. Congenital means that the defect is present at birth.
Congenital Heart Defect is considered to be the most common birth defect, and is a leading cause of birth-defect related deaths worldwide. Congenital Heart Disease affects approximately 1.8 millions families in the United States according to the Congenital Heart Information Network (C.H.I.N.)
The inspirational and heart-warming Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week Pinterest page is something you don’t want to miss. Here are some of the CHD survivors on that page and their stories:
Kaden (above) was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries the day he was born. He had open heart surgery at 12 days old. Complications during and after the 11-hour surgery led the surgeon to believe his heart wouldn’t sustain life. He went home two weeks later. He has pulmonary stenosis and a small VSD but is doing amazingly well.
Olivia (left) was born with half a heart as a result of a severe and complicated congenital heart defect known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). During the past four years she has endured three open-heart surgeries, five heart catheters and a stroke.
Norah (right) was born with Heterodoxy, an ASD, VSD, interrupted IVC w/ Azygos continuation, an Intestinal Malrotation, minor Hydronephrosis, Pulmonary Stenosis and Polysplenia (she has 2 functional spleens). She had Ladd’s Procedure when she was 5 weeks old and open heart surgery at 9 months.
“We were fortunate enough to know she’d have a CHD before birth. It was tough to go through the pregnancy not knowing what would be wrong with her (bad news started when I was about 12 weeks along), but always loving her. She was, and IS, perfect. It took a long time to remember that she was perfect (at least to me) before I knew about her conditions and that they didn’t change anything. She was still the baby I loved, she’d just have a more colorful story than some.”