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Heart Warrior Owen

I never could have imagined having to prepare my little boy for tests such as cardiac MRI’s, stress tests, and cardiac monitors

When our son Owen was born 6 weeks early, doctors gave us no explanation for the early arrival and everything seemed fine.  That night, he stayed in the nursery so that we could get some rest.  Little did we know that Owen would not be returning to the room, a nurse had detected a heart murmur that needed to be checked out by a cardiologist.  My husband and I were shocked and confused as he seemed perfectly fine hours before.  The cardiologist determined that he would need to be rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit so that his unstable oxygen levels could be closely monitored.  I was discharged days later; however, Owen remained in the NICU for 11 days.

Owen was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot.  We were told that this condition would require open heart surgery in the near future.  My husband and I were overwhelmed with the diagnosis and feared for his wellbeing.  I do not think Owen would have survived the whole pregnancy due to his lack of oxygen, and that God was watching over us when Owen was born early.  As his mother, I was afraid to let people hold him with the fear of him getting sick as the flu months were approaching.  Owen’s sister, Erin, was seven at the time he was diagnosed and was very protective of him.  She would let people know that her little brother was born with a broken heart.

At 3 months old, there was a day that was particularly rough for Owen.  He wasn’t eating or sleeping, and his lips and fingers were turning blue.  After notifying his cardiologist, Dr. Sharma, he told us to call 911 and met us at the hospital.  Once Owen was stable we were transferred to CHOA.  They determined he would need open heart surgery as soon as possible.  So, at 3 months old, Owen underwent open heart surgery to repair his pulmonary valve.  Since then, Owen has undergone a second surgery at eight years old.

The staff at Sibley were great and provided wonderful care for Owen when he was in the hospital recovering from both surgeries.  I never could have imagined having to prepare my little boy for tests such as cardiac MRI’s, stress tests, and cardiac monitors.  I relied on family and friends for support and sent a lot of prayers to God.  My advice to parents experiencing similar situations is to trust your instincts and always go with your gut feeling if you think something is wrong with your child.  Also, never be afraid to ask questions about the care your child receives.

Today, Owen is an active ten year old who never gives up on the things he likes to do.  He has made lots of friends in school and is loved by all his teachers.  He loves math and wants to be a principal when he grows up.  His favorite activities include swimming, riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, and playing his PlayStation.

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