…..aaaaaand… her mom, Debbie! Yes! We have two incredible CHD warriors today!
I first met Sydney and her mom, Debbie last year during the planning of The Children’s Heart Foundation‘s “Congenital Heart Walk“. They are the sweetest family. I remember feeling kind of terrified about Natalie starting full day kindergarten in August 2012. Debbie assured me how awesome Sydney did. She gave me the best advice and helped make the transition less crazy. Debbie really made me feel more prepared. August and September were really hot here in Colorado which resulted in several visits with Natalie at the school. She was having migraines and feeling extra tired due to the heat. But I handled it well because again.. Debbie made me feel prepared. I kept thinking of her advice as I would get through each day of those hot months. Before we all knew it, it was cooler and everyone stopped sweating and having migraines. I am so thankful for Debbie’s advice.
Sydney and Debbie, our family is very honored to have met you and your family. We are crazy excited about this year’s Heart Walk, and part of it is because we hope to see you all soon! : )
Here are their stories as graciously told by Debbie:
“Here’s my story:
I was born on May 27th 1975 and my parents had no idea about a heart defect. At about 2 months of age, the pediatrician noticed a murmur and I was checked out at Children’s Hospital and they found out I had a “hole in my heart”. Officially known as Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
. It was surgically repaired via open heart surgery when I was 3 years old. I was followed at Children’s until I was 18 and was told I didn’t need to see a cardiologist any more. (At least – that’s what I remember).
(Debbie and her mom. : )
Todd and I got married in 2003 and I got pregnant in October of 2004. At my 22 week ultrasound the doctors requested a fetal heart echo for the baby, and I didn’t think twice about it – my defect wasn’t genetic, right? The ultrasound took forever – doctors kept saying they couldn’t get a good view. Then the worst moment of my life happened – our baby had a severe heart defect. Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome
and we were told we needed to decide in 2 weeks if we wanted to terminate the pregnancy. I had to have an amniocentesis because the rates were higher for Down’s Syndrome with heart defects.
Luckily the doctors told us to see a cardiologist at Children’s and we met Karrie Villavicencio
– the most amazing doctor! She told us we could get through this with three surgeries and she would look and act normal like any other child we saw at the heart clinic.
Sydney was born on July 27, 2005 with no complications. The room was filled with doctors, nurses and students (it was a teaching hospital and she was a rare one). I got to hold her for a few minutes and they took her to get her checked. We consider ourselves very lucky because we got to take her home after 2 days in the hospital.
Sydney didn’t need her first surgery until 8 months of age. A PA Band
Instead of her Pulmonary Artery being too small, hers was too large. The surgery went well and we were out of the hospital in about 5 days. Surgery #2 came at 14 months of age – the Glenn
(Sydney and her mommy)
It was another successful surgery and we were out of the hospital again in less than a week.
After Sydney’s second surgery I got pregnant again. My 20 week ultrasound was nerve racking, but a cried when the technician said they could see all four chambers of his heart. That ultrasound was nothing like Sydney’s. We were going to have a healthy baby boy.
Logan was born in January of 2009. And then came the last surgery for Sydney before she turned 3 (in May) – the Fontan
. The surgery went well but she contracted RSV while in the hospital – no fun. All doctors and nurses had to gown and mask up whenever they came in the room. We were there for 2 weeks. Her fenestration
was closed via the cath lab about a year later.
She is now a happy second grader and has very few issues. Her last holter monitor results were great and now we are hoping her oxygen levels are going up after switching medications for pulmonary hypertension. Karrie Villavicencio is still her cardiologist and we see her about every 4-6 months.
Sydney loves her brother and friends, is a great student and is an overall happy kid! She loves animals, especially horses and wants to be a horse trainer when she grows up.”
(Sydney and her baby brother!)