Photographs by Laurie @ Horizons Photography

February 9, 2011

Heartbeats

This week is CHD awareness week... what is CHD? Let me tell you... Congenital Heart Defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as "holes" between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.

Josh, as you know is one of these kids, born with CHD. We knew his condition shortly after our 20 week ultrasound. He had a two vessel cord instead of a three vessel cord, this caused them to want to look deeper at his heart and kidneys. I was sent to Women's College for a stage 2 US that showed a ballooning right atrium which then led us to Sick Kids in Toronto where they did a fetal ECHO. It was the Fetal ECHO that resulted in his initial diagnosis. He had a totally blocked Pulmonary valve and at birth they discovered a number of other defects, the diagnosis was grim and abortion was offered as an option on countless occasions. As is often the case to my understanding.

People don't understand CHD and with grim tales of severe health risks and possible death they often feel that they cannot cope with the dire situation and opt for the 'termination' choice. I have written all about Josh's many heart complications, my reason tonight for writing is to offer hope to those people who hear the dreaded CHD diagnosis...

This is not a death sentence, yes, the possibilities are there. The sad fact is that some kids die from such defects and in the past it was considered terminal. HOWEVER, and this is a BIG, no HUGE however... In Canada today 50% of people with CHD are adults! This is an amazing statistic, it means that the research being done, the new procedures offered, the new devices being made, are offering our kids a chance at a longer life. Josh has one of those devices implanted in his heart right now! He is alive because of a 5 year old 'test' device. He has a new valve as well, and when the time comes for more work on his heart there will be even more hope, even more new 'tests'.

Do not let fear drive your choices, with CHD there is hope, there is no cure, there is a road to be travelled but let Josh be a testament to the joy that can be found on that road! His laughter fills a room, his life fills hearts around the world with joy and thanksgiving, his heart beats stronger than ever before because of the research being done, because of weeks like this where people are made aware of the hope, made aware of the truth behind CHD.

Please, forward this post to friends and family and help us to get the awareness out about CHD! Thank you!