What is your cause?

The day after Bella came into our lives we found out that she had several congenital heart defects. She was then taken from our side, and rushed, by air vac, to another hospital. I can't tell you how I felt that night in the hospital with out my baby. The only thing I can really remember is telling myself "what did I do wrong?" "What could I have done differently?" "This is all my fault!"

Seven days after she was born, Bella had heart surgery to repair one of the defects. Coarctation of the aorta is the name of one of the defects, and what her surgery was repairing. In addition to the coarctation, she also had VSD, and a bicuspid aorta (which causes aortic stenosis). The surgery actual only lasted half the time that they had prepared us for. Her recovery was great, and she was able to come home a week later.

I was very isolated the following months after her surgery. I was only focused on one thing, and that was Bella. I didn't pick up the phone when friends would call, and I avoided family from seeing her. I was depressed. I'll admit it... I had postpartum depression, and didn't want to talk to anyone. I blamed myself for everything.

Since then we've had constant routine visits to the cardiologist. She will forever have to do this, as these issues can and will affect her the rest of her life. There may be future surgeries, its hard to tell when and for what.

Bella is one of the strongest, and toughest babies I have ever met. I remember seeing her in the pediatric ICU, with all those IVs and wires hooked up to her. I tried to be so strong then, but those visions still haunt me. There must have been a hundred different tubes, I didn't even know where they all could go. Even now it doesn't seem like pain effects her very much. The hardest and toughest falls cause only minimal cries. I look into her eyes and I see a fighter.

I can't help but still hold myself accountable in someway for my child's heart. I didn't plan for her. and I didn't even know I was pregnant till much later. My nutrition was poor and I smoked and drank. Anyone of these can be a factor, or none at all, but I will never know.

I know that God brought her into my life. and blessed me. There is a reason for everything... especially for her heart. I don't know why yet, and I may never know, but I'm thankful regardless. I truly believe that God only challenges us with what we are capable of handling. He's thrown a lot at me these past couple years.

Everyone should have a cause that they are passionate about, that moves them to do more. If everyone on this earth had a cause like this, I wonder how much nicer this place would be? If we gave just a little more time, money, energy, voice... could we... cure aids, cancer, world hunger, homelessness, terrorism, hate? The list goes on. Everyone has got to feel strongly about something?

I am a mother to a child with a Congenital Heart Disease. This is a big part of who I am. In a way, it does define me. I'm not like all the other mothers, who have children that are healthy. I'm put into that category. This has changed me in so many ways, and has set me apart from other parents. I have changed my ways and opinions of parenting, and life in general. As much as we try not to categorize, or define people by the outsides... we still do and for good reasons, because a large percentage of the time it's true.

Because of this, I have decided to reach out to other parents who have dealt with this same thing. My cause is to support all the families out there that are affected with CHD. It's the most common birth defect.


What is your cause?
Posted on September 2, 2010 .