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Hugs, Kisses, Smiles and a Successful Surgery!

Natalie’s heart may have a scar, but she is full of love and spreads that love to everyone she meets.

I was three or four months pregnant when my doctors noticed a hole in my baby’s heart during an ultrasound. After a trip to a specialist, we confirmed that our sweet baby girl Natalie had a congenital heart defect. At this appointment, we also learned that there was a possibility that Natalie had Down syndrome.

We decided not to do any testing to verify whether or not Natalie had Down syndrome, because her diagnosis didn’t matter to us. We just wanted a baby, and she is the best thing we have ever gotten! We didn’t know for sure that Natalie had Down syndrome until she was born. Learning about her CHD was scary, so we turned to our faith. We knew that Jesus was in control, so we trusted Him.

Forty to 50 percent of all babies with Down syndrome have a CHD. Atrioventricular septal defect, or AV canal defect, is the most common for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. Natalie had a complete AV canal defect which had to be repaired when she was several months old. Natalie’s surgery was on a Friday with Dr. Subi at Egleston and we were able to bring Natalie home the following Tuesday with no problems!

Right now, Natalie is our only child. Over the past nine months, we’ve had the best time learning about her. She has been so wonderful to have in our lives. The future holds so much more to learn about our daughter and to watch her grow in personality.

Sibley has been very informative and caring. It’s almost like family, how well they have taken care of and been supportive of Natalie, me and my husband. Since her surgery, we’ve had a few visits and an echocardiogram. Dr. Lewis and her team have been wonderful and have told us that unless something changes, Natalie will not need another surgery. Today, Natalie is wonderful, growing with no problem. We praise God for her progress. She loves to be held and gives the biggest smiles, hugs and kisses I think I’ve ever encountered.

I would tell other parents going through a similar journey not to be afraid. God has His hands on your situation. CHD or another condition, this is His way. He will not give you anything you can’t handle, so trust Him and you will be taken care of. Natalie’s heart may have a scar, but she is full of love and spreads that love to everyone she meets.

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