Over 2 years ago, Mike and I were SO excited to hear we were finally pregnant. We were and continue to be so thankful to our friends and family who supported us before, during and after!!!
Our story with congenital heart defects begins at my 20 week ultrasound, where the doctor noticed something off and recommended we speak with a pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Siddiqui, immediately. What followed shocked us; our child would be born with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). Transposition of the great arteries changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygen in blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body. Without an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood, the body can't function properly and your child faces serious complications or death without treatment (mayoclinic.org).
Thankfully, Dr. Siddiqui calmed us down, answered all of our questions (yes she can play sports) and gave us the BEST advice. He recommended a scheduled C-section at Advocate Christ in Oak Lawn, one of the premier centers for pediatric cardiac surgery. Long story short, Bridget was born 7/16/18 and had surgery on 7/19/18 to fix the Congential Heart Defect. Her world-renowned surgeons, Dr. Ilbawi and Dr. El-Zein, did an amazing job and the entire staff made us feel so taken care of. Dr. Siddiqui still serves as Bridget's cardiologist and at her appointment recently she gave him a big hug (without prompting); he is part of the family!
Also due to this experience, I was able to learn about and volunteer with the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association. I have shared my experience, learned from others, and have made lifelong friends thanks to PCHA. My dad has even been Santa at our annual holiday event (for those children who cannot go to the mall santas).
Even though this year's walk is virtual, Mike and I would like to host a walk starting at our house on September 13th at 10am. Our neighborhood is a one mile loop and afterward we can share laughs, pool time, food, and drinks! We're even thinking of ordering t-shirts (design TBD). If you can't walk with us or join us on September 13th, we thank you in advance for your donation. PCHA has done so much for me and I look forward to continuing the phenomenal work in our CHD community.
On July 16th, Bridget will turn 2 and is a happy, healthy, and very sassy young girl. Without PCHA and its support system, we could be in a very different place we are today!
Your donation will help us continue local activities like:
-Conquering CHD Kits offering critical information and a personal connection for patients with CHD of all ages through individualized care packages
-Online chat networks bringing people with similar experiences together
-In-person peer support offering patients and families encouragement and insight from someone who has walked a similar path
-Social events providing a safe environment to celebrate life and simple joys together
-Physician education improving understanding of congenital heart disease from the patient and family perspective
-Research promotion and participation helping promising developments become reality
-Advocacy activities sharing our stories to improve federal research funding.
Find more information about Conquering CHD at: www.conqueringchd.org
Conquering CHD - Illinois www.conqueringchd.org/Illinois