A Heart Warrior Mom’s Message Reminds Others to Stay Hopeful

Pediatric Cardiology Patient
CHD congenital heart defect patient

Taylor and Kris started their family young, and they didn’t know much about congenital heart defects in children. But when their first child, Kholson, was diagnosed with serious Congenital Heart Diseases before he was born, they threw themselves into learning as much as they could about his condition. With the help of their families and the providers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology, they navigated three open heart surgeries with hope and grace.

Kholson was born with three serious CHDs: tricuspid atresia, coarctation of the aorta and transposition of the great arteries (TGA). His first open heart surgery took place when he was three days old, and his most recent surgery was four years ago. Taylor said the nurses and physicians at Children’s Cardiology helped prepare them for what would happen after Kholson’s birth, even arranging a tour of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) so they could see what their baby would look like post-surgery.

“The nurses at the hospital were phenomenal, and we’re still in contact with some of them eight years later,” Taylor said. “The doctors were also great about giving us information while keeping us hopeful. To this day, no matter the situation, they get us into the office if we have a concern, and they always make my son feel safe during his appointments.”

Taylor said that as a new mom, she was adamant that she did not want to leave Kholson’s side those first days after his birth. But the nurses encouraged her to take care of herself as well.

“They knew I needed to recover and heal too,” Taylor said. “They encouraged me to get up and moving and reassured me that it was okay to leave him in their care. All the terminology and what’s happening around you can get overwhelming, but I just tried to remind myself that whatever they were talking about was helping him and that was the most important thing to me. The baby can feel your emotion, and I tried to keep a positive mindset when I was in the room with him.”

Kholson, who sees pediatric cardiologist Heather Maloney, DO, at the Children’s Cardiology’s Newnan location, is now 8 years old and thriving. He loves reading, drawing, basketball and golf. Taylor said he’s very caring, especially for his little brother and sister, Kooper and Kynsli. He’s in a mixed class at school with some kids with disabilities, and he takes a particular interest in making sure they have everything they need.

“He sees all the care he’s been given and wants to give back,” Taylor said. “We encourage him to share his story, and he says often that the doctors at Children’s healed him. We tell him his scars show that he’s strong.”

Taylor said Kholson has changed the kind of parents she and Kris have sought to be. When she considers what she would tell other parents, she said she wants more people to know that kids with CHDs can lead normal lives.

“Each person’s journey is unique but maintaining hope can take you far,” Taylor said.

For more information about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.

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