Healing a Tiny Heart – Part 3

A parent’s worst nightmare is learning something is seriously wrong with their child. It is traumatic at any age in that child’s life, but far worse in the case of an infant.

Being told your 2 month old son has a huge hole in his heart, an enlarged heart from it working overtime to compensate for the hole, as well as having fluid in his lungs which is affecting his heart even further, is devastating.

Ashley B and Coleman are fighting for their son Cash. Their family, extended family, and friends have rallied to their side, and we are all supporting them as much as possible as they begin this long and unbelievably frightening journey.
baby-cash
Even after having his surgery to repair the hole, Cash will still have to remain in the hospital for several weeks while being closely monitored by a group of extremely dedicated and highly professional doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughter’s (CHKD) in Norfolk.

Both Ashley B and Coleman are incredibly, and understandably, worried. But for a mother, who carried that child inside her for nine months, there’s a well of emotion inside of her that cannot be explained with mere words. It can only be truly understood by another mother. It’s an unexplainable bond between a mother and her child.

Ashley B wrote the following the night before Cash was rushed to the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) at CHKD in Norfolk because of the fluid in his heart. He will be there until the surgery, and for the several weeks afterwards until he is strong enough to return home to finish his recuperation.

“We cannot thank you all enough for the encouragement and outpouring of love. It has truly helped give us some hope and strength in this time of heartache, confusion, and questioning.
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We love each and every one of you. We were told today that it is looking like Cash will be placed on the surgeons’ schedule for open heart surgery for the end of this month. His lungs are full of fluid, however, and we need the medicine the doctors gave him to do its job in the meantime, and remove that fluid! However, our precious boy is having a very hard time keeping it down, and we will be calling the doctor again in the morning.

I truly hate all of this, and that I have to give him this medicine, and then watch my poor baby boy get sick from it. It’s truly heartbreaking, and we know this is just the beginning of all of this mess.”

Ashley B
October 5, 2016

Ashley B, you have no idea how many people are praying for you and your family. For healing, and for strength, and for the total peace that passes all understanding as you and your family embark on this journey. Stay strong.

But cry when you need to. It’s ok. No one expects you to be Superwoman. No one expects Coleman to be Superman. We just expect you to be loving and concerned parents who are fighting for your child. And that’s enough for now.

Healing a Tiny Heart – Part 2

The majority of these blogs in this series will not be written by me (only edited by me for this series), but by the parents of Baby Cash, who is only 2 months old. His parents entered their worst nightmare when they learned less than a week ago their son had a large hole in his heart which will very soon (within the next few weeks) require open heart surgery. Fortunately there is an excellent hospital for infants and children, CHKD (Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters) in Norfolk, where Cash will have his surgery. But still, the prospect of open heart surgery is a scary thought for both those of us who have loved ones going through it, or who are going through it ourselves, no matter what our age.

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His parents, Coleman and Ashley B are very good friends with our daughter and son in law. Baby Cash was born just ten weeks after our granddaughter Rachel, and the babies already seem to recognize each other as soon as they’re together, as you can see in the picture above.

This post was written by Cash’s mom the night after they received the diagnosis, when she had finally had a few moments to herself to think about the events of the day.

Part 1 of their story can be found here.

A Prayer For My Son

Dear Lord, your gifts are many.
I’m grateful for everyone.
One of the greatest gifts you’ve given
is the gift of a wonderful son

Thank you for his life dear Lord.
Watch over him I pray.
May he be safe and free from harm,
as he goes about each day.

Bless him through life’s trials.
Help him choose right from wrong.
An example be for all to see.
Standing tall, and proud and strong.
By Ron Tranmer

“Yesterday our world was flipped upside down and for the first time ever in my life time stopped, and there were no words.

Today I found this prayer which, is something I couldn’t have needed more after finding out our son has a severe case of Ventricular Septal Defect, a very large hole in his heart which we are told will require open heart surgery.
cash-2
Our hearts our broken, but our little boy is strong. I think he is stronger then his momma. He was hooked up to wires and had an echocardiogram performed on his heart for over an hour, the whole time cooing and smiling, or holding my finger while closing his little eyes and fighting not to go to sleep.

I can’t help but keep wishing it were me instead of him. I’m a firm believer in miracles and the power of prayer. Thank you to our family and friends who have checked in on us. Keep the prayers coming. Love on your babies a little extra tonight, and mommas, always trust your gut instincts. If you think something isn’t right with your child, don’t stop questioning until you get answers.”

Ashley B
October 4, 2016

Healing a Tiny Heart – Part 1

The majority of the blogs in this series will not be written by me. This is not my story. But it is one that needs to be told.

Our daughter and son in law have good friends named Ashley, who I will refer to as Ashley B, and Coleman. They’re all in the same age group, late twenties. Both Ashleys were pregnant at the same time. Both girls would come to our house and float in the pool during the heat of early spring and summer. They jokingly called themselves whales, which neither of them were. They were beautiful pregnant ladies.

Today they’re beautiful young moms. The babies seem to know each other already, and visit together a lot. Both young women are excellent moms.

And today these moms are both very scared.

This week Ashley B and Coleman discovered their 2 month old son Cash has a large hole in his heart which will require open heart surgery. Which is very scary, but when it’s your 2 month old son, it’s even worse, even more frightening.

Our Ashley is scared for her friends, scared for Baby Cash, who they all refer to as our 4 month old granddaughter Rachel’s boyfriend. And our Ashley and Chris now hold Baby Rachel even more often than usual, thanking the Lord she is healthy, and praying Baby Cash will be all right.

We are all praying for this family. The following was written by Cash’s daddy, Coleman, when they first discovered the problem. I have only done minor edits for grammar and spelling.

Here begins their story, as told by Coleman:

“So this is very hard for me to write, but I think it will help me from losing myself every time I have to tell someone what is happening. Yesterday Ashley and I had time stop on us. It was so unexpected! We took Cash for his two month checkup, and he was supposed to get his first three shots. Every time he has been in the presence of any doctors we have mentioned how his breathing does not seem to be normal, and we were always told, ‘Babies breathe weird and sporadic. They’re still learning how to breathe.’

Yesterday we brought it up again, and again we were told the same thing, but the doctor we had, who we had not seen before, said, ‘I’ll just listen to make sure.’ She placed the stethoscope on Cash for not even two seconds, and immediately said he had a heart murmur! Ashley and I both were totally silent and in shock, not really knowing what it was, and how big of a deal it was.
cash-at-doctor
The doctor told us sometimes they are not too concerned, ‘but this one does concern me quite a bit, and I’m going to go call the cardiologist to see if they can come over here now to see him.’

She left the room, and Ashley and I were both realizing if she was calling a cardiologist to come NOW, something was seriously wrong. She came back quickly and said Cash would not be receiving his shots that day, and that she wanted us to rush straight to CHKD in downtown Norfolk. OK. Rush to CHKD???!!! We are now both sobbing uncontrollably. [Note: CHKD is Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, and an excellent children’s hospital here in the Hampton Roads area.]

We got to CHKD, and were told by the cardiology department they were going to do several tests on him, including an echocardiogram and ultrasound pictures, and then they would talk to us. You can imagine how scared we were by then.

They hooked 13 wires up to little Cash for an EKG, and took his blood pressure 10 times. They took his oxygen levels, and then they were all in the echo lab for well over an hour. The doctor must have taken a million pictures! Then they sat us down, only to be interrupted for another 30 minutes of echo pictures. Finally, we were told Cash had a hole in his heart, and diagnosed him with VSD (ventricular septal defect). They explained it was very common in infants, however the size of his hole was portrayed as very uncommon.

Their exact words were, “There are three types of holes: small ones which we do nothing for; medium which we give medication for and closely monitor; and large which require surgery. Your son’s is very large. Large holes sometimes can be closed with closed heart surgery, but his hole is too big, and will require open-heart surgery.’

Open heart surgery! This is a huge deal for anyone, let alone a 2 month old little baby. Here we were thinking our boy was the healthiest boy under the sun, and now this. Little did we know he has been eating so much, not because he’s growing so quickly, but because his poor heart is working so hard that he’s burning calories three times faster than most babies.

Certainly this is a lot to take in, and the hardest thing I think I’ve ever dealt with. On the outside, I try to stay strong and positive alongside my wife to be strong for her, but at work, when I’m alone in my truck, I can’t help but lose myself constantly. I am as scared as a five-year-old little girl. My son is the best gift ever given to me, and I don’t know how I could move forward without him. On a positive note, I am grateful for being so close to CHKD, one of the best hospitals in the world.

I am grateful I was able to take my son home yesterday, and that he has not been put into immediate surgery. I am grateful for my wonderful family and all the prayers we are receiving and would love for more! CHKD is keeping a close eye on him, and they want to try to get more weight on him before surgery to help make it easier, but they also told us they can only let his little heart work overtime for so long. He will have to see a cardiologist for the rest of his life, but for now until the surgery is scheduled, we just pray all goes smooth and my little boy is healthy afterwards.

Prayers are welcome, too. Bless you all.”

Coleman
October 4, 2016

This is the first installment of their story. More to follow. Prayers are surely needed, and welcomed during this difficult time.

Cash, we love you, and we’re praying for you!
October 4, 2016