Courtney was sailing through her pregnancy with her second son and looking forward to her C-section date when she began to have very mild contractions three weeks early. Thinking nothing of it, she and her husband Steven went to the doctor but almost didn’t pack a bag or bring a car seat, so sure they were that she’d make it to her due date. Two hours later, Brock was born by C-section and rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit with trouble breathing.
“My first son Henry was so easy and healthy, it never crossed our minds that we could have a child with a health problem,” Courtney said. “After Brock was born, 10 hours passed before I could see him. I thought that was the worst day of my life, but I didn’t know what was coming next.”
Brock’s lung problems resolved after three days, and just before they were scheduled to go home, a nurse thought she heard a faint heart murmur that no one else had. Because a pediatric cardiologist was already coming to see the baby sharing Courtney’s hospital room, the nurse decided to ask him to look at Brock as well, just as a precaution. They received another shock when they learned Brock had coarctation of the aorta, and the family was immediately referred to Neill Videlefsky, MD, at Sibley Heart Center Cardiology.
When Dr. Videlefsky told Courtney and Steven at the initial visit that he wanted to re-do the echocardiogram his echo tech had done on Brock, Courtney’s stomach dropped.
I had thought that not seeing Brock for 10 hours after I gave birth was the worst day, but this was,” Courtney said. “They sent us straight to Egleston and told us Brock would probably have heart surgery within the next two to three days. We didn’t know anyone who had had heart surgery, and we were just thinking, ‘Our baby’s going to die.’”
Courtney said Dr. Videlefsky and the staff at Egleston did an incredible job putting them at ease, quickly educating them about Brock’s congenital heart disease and his prospects to survive surgery and thrive in the future. Kirk Kanter, MD, would be his surgeon, and he and his staff stayed in constant communication with Courtney and Steven as they prepared for surgery, which took place when Brock was 1 month old. He is now a happy, healthy boy with few visible effects from the dramatic events of his first weeks on Earth.
When COVID-19 hit early this year, Courtney’s heart went out to the other Georgia heart moms she had gotten to know who were posting that their spouses or family members couldn’t be in hospital rooms to support them, putting extra strain on nurses to fill in the gaps. She also thought about Brock’s birth and how Steven’s fellow Cherokee County firefighters had donated their sick days to allow him to stay home with his family for more than three months when he only had a couple of weeks of his own sick time. That was in addition to the hundreds of diapers, meals and other gifts that made their lives easier during a difficult time.
The selflessness of these essential workers inspired Courtney to want to give back in some way. As co-owner of Miss Milly’s, an event rental, design and floral company, she presented the idea of an essential worker dream wedding giveaway to her partners, who are her mom and sister. They reached out to their friends in the wedding industry, thinking a few more might come on board. They now have 24 vendors joining Miss Milly’s to give away a wedding at a Marietta venue worth up to $75,000!
Our friends jumped on the opportunity, before I could even get the sentence out of my mouth,” Courtney said. “Of course, our family has a huge appreciation for the healthcare workers who changed our lives with Brock, but we didn’t imagine the outpouring of gratitude from this many people for what essential workers have sacrificed for us to keep things going during COVID.”
Any essential worker in Georgia can enter the Dream Wedding Giveaway by July 17. Visit Dream Wedding Giveaway on Instagram for instructions.
For more information about Sibley Heart Center Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.