I thought I'd share a little information about our son, Aidan, and his journey with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. We are doing the Briggs Al's Run Walk this month and trying to raise pledges for Children's Hospital.
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is a premier, non-profit, hospital dedicated to helping children. 100% of proceeds from donations goes to Children's. They have saved Aidan's life 4 times and helped us so much more, if you can believe it. This is just our story - there are thousands more like it.
Please consider donating at Aidan's firstgiving page. Thank you!
Aidan was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Right Heart when I was 20 weeks pregnant. This means the right side of his heart is underdeveloped. It is a very serious condition and without medical intervention, he would have died.
When Aidan was born, staff from Children's Hospital was in the delivery room, ready to diagnose and treat him immediately. Their first job was a surprise to us as Aidan was delivered with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. It took a while to get him to breathe and the sounds of his first cries were a relief to us. With barely a kiss from his parents, Aidan was whisked to the NICU for diagnosis and treatment.
When Aidan was 4 days old, he had his first heart surgery. A BT shunt was put in to deliver blood from his aorta to his pulmonary arteries. His pulmonary arteries were split and had to be fixed at this time as well.
At 5 weeks of age, Aidan had a second BT shunt put in as he outgrew the first shunt. During this procedure, a shunt that was too big was put in and his lung hemorrhaged. The purpose of the shunts is a temporary fix to allow the child to grow and be better able to tolerate open-heart surgery when the babies are older.
At 5 months of age, Aidan had open-heart surgery, the Glenn. The Glenn's purpose is to connect his Superior Vena Cava to his pulmonary arteries.
At 2 years, 11 months of age, Aidan had the Fontan, another open-heart surgery that connected the Inferior Vena Cava to his pulmonary arteries. Now Aidan's body relies on venous pressure to pump blood to the lungs to get oxygen.
Throughout all this, Aidan had a few catheterizations, treatment for reflux, a dairy allergy, and a choking/swallowing problem caused by the surgery. I was also supported by the lactation consultants for over a year with encouragement and instructions for breastfeeding exclusively through pumping.
During all these surgeries and events, Jeff and I were amazed at how not only could the most talented, amazingly smart people work there but they were the most compassionate, too. The importance of our family in the involvement of Aidan's treatment was stressed. The compassion we received as parents was equal to the compassion Aidan received. We learned so much and when we go for visits, it is like seeing family.
Aidan goes twice a year for checkups. We do not know if he'll need further treatment outside of the medications he is on for life and, if so, what. We do not know what his life span is. What we do know is that we feel comfortable knowing that he has the greatest doctors at his disposal in our own back yard. Our son's life was saved 4 times and we are forever grateful.
One final thing is that this is one of thousands of stories of children treated at Children's. Our experience was so terrifying but when we were there, we would see children who had it worse. You can get overwhelmed walking around and seeing all the children in that hospital and all the families just as scared as we were.
So many have supported us and the hospital throughout this ordeal and we are asking that you join us again in any way on this day to rejoice how lucky we are to have this spirited, healthy boy who started Kindergarten this week and to help make this happiness possible for other little ones. Please consider pledging. We know that not everyone can but if you were thinking about doing so, please consider pledging today.