Perspectives tend to change when things happen to you or those you love.
At 6 weeks, my daughter, Grace, had been tugging at her ear; her mother and I feared she was developing an ear infection. I wish that had been the case. The P.A. checked her ears, which were fine; however she discovered a disconcerting sound when she routinely listened to the sound of Grace’s heart. Concerned, she called in several physicians from the office to confirm what she suspected – Grace and her mother were directed to Duke Children’s Hospital immediately.
After a bevy of tests, we were informed that Grace had been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect which required open heart surgery, or she would die. Die. To be clear, there are worse things a parent can hear about their child, but this is on the “short list” of things you don’t want to hear – believe me.
The doctors wanted to wait until six months to perform the surgery, however though Grace’s malformed heart was working as best it could; it was simply not good enough. Grace’s heart function was so poor, that taking a bottle was tantamount to running a marathon – often she vomited the contents and was literally not able to consume enough nutrients to live.
At 18 weeks, my little girl had open heart surgery to repair her heart. In the weeks, months and, yes, years since that time, my Grace has persevered.
She is now 7 years old. Smart, happy and most importantly healthy, due to Grace’s early diagnosis and intervention, she has been blessed with the promise of a full life. I consider myself blessed beyond my worth for the gift I have in Grace.
To help support babies like Grace, take a few moments to send a letter to your lawmakers in support of pulse oximetry, a test that helps save babies that have heart defect like Grace’s. To send your letter now, click here.
Blog content provided by Eric Sanchez, father of Grace, and a North Carolina You're the Cure Advocate.