Congenital heart defects (CHD) are one of the most common birth defects in the United States, and the leading cause of birth defect related deaths in children under one year. This is a very personal issue for me and my family as my son, "Brave Heart" Asher, was born with a complex congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia. He also had an Atrial Septal Defect and hypoplastic branch pulmonary arteries, 7 heart defects total.
We were unaware of Asher’s heart defect during pregnancy, so we were shocked and heartbroken when our sweet baby boy was born fighting for his life. Although we live in Gulfport, Asher courageously endured two open heart surgeries and three heart catheterizations before his 1st birthday at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. He had a fourth heart catheterization at 2 years old. He also has developmental delays due to his heart surgeries and a PVL brain injury. Asher’s CHD will require life-long specialized cardiac care, along with heart surgery/procedures as he grows or develops complications, but we courageously press on and believe in miracle breakthroughs in medical research.
There can be no adequate description of the emotional, physical and financial toll this can take on a family. Fortunately, there is help and promising research, but much more needs to be done. Without research, these precious children have little hope since there is no known cause for CHD and no cure. Research for congenital heart defects is vital to making a better life for children and adults with these defects. Through early detection and diagnosis, better treatment options, and research to determine the cause of these defects, these children will have a far better chance at living longer healthier lives.
Our lives drastically changed the moment Asher was born with a broken heart, but we are stronger, love deeper and have faith that can move mountains because of this incredible trial. Our faith in an amazing God and His powerful promises of healing give us peace and hope for this journey. He can take broken pieces and make masterpieces! Be Brave and Keep Going!