Have a Heart

Today's post is a bit more personal for me.

As you may or may not know, our little peanut, Stella, has some pretty serious medical issues. Three years ago today, as a tiny 6-week old, Stella went in for a routine follow-up cardiology appointment and got immediately admitted to the ICU. She had a small hole in her heart at birth, but we were told that was fairly normal, and set up an appointment to check on it in 6 weeks. Fast forward those 6 weeks and all of a sudden we were told this minor abnormality had turned into a full-blown enlarged heart with crazy rhythms, skipped beats, and a gamut of other problems. Whoa! 

Her unique combination of heart complications really perplexed the doctors. In fact, several other pediatric cardiologists from around the U.S. were called into the conversations to try to figure out the best solution. Finally, after 4 weeks, we found a combination of medications that seemed to stabilize her heart. But during our hospital stay, we found other medical problems: Stella developed severe reflux; the doctors discovered malrotation of her gut which required surgery to correct it. During that surgery they also placed a G-Tube to aid in feedings and medication administration. The surgery caused her right lung to collapse, so she had to have respiratory therapy to help her through that. 

It was also in that hospital stay that Stella was diagnosed with Noonan Syndrome, a developmental disorder. This explained some of her heart problems and new feeding issues. When we were sent home with our 10-week old, we were scared out of our minds. Without the reassurance of the constant computer monitor surveillance, how would we know what her heart was doing? What would we do without the help of doctors and nurses? We would be so alone...with this baby who could go into cardiac arrest at any moment...

I could go on and on about the challenges we've faced the last three years, but what's really important is that she is doing excellent, despite her diagnosis. She is an amazing little girl, and has beaten the odds and continues to surprise her doctors and therapists with her wonderful progress. Though it has been tough for our little family, we believe we were given this "challenge" because we could handle it - and we are! We wouldn't trade it in for the world.

Now onto the point of this post. For the month of February, the Plush Team challenge was to make a plush "with a heart". "Plush Team Has Heart" is a fundraiser to benefit the International Children's Heart Foundation, an organization that works to bring aid to children in developing countries with congenital heart conditions. 100% of the sales will be donated to the ICHF.

Typically, this challenge would be a great one, but this one specifically, hits home for us. To honor Stella, and all the children of the world with heart conditions, I made Cardesso the Monster:

To purchase Cardesso, with 100% of the sale going to the International Children's Heart Foundation, go here. If Cardesso isn't your style, there are plenty more awesome choices in the Plush Team Shop.

Thank you so much for reading this post and supporting such a wonderful cause.

Please note: Our family has not benefited specifically from the ICHF. We have, however, gotten help from other local organizations, for which we are forever grateful.

Have a great Tuesday! (and Happy 60th Birthday, Dad!)