Posted in Mom Talk

My Little Heart Warrior

**WARNING**

*This is a very true story. Tissues might be needed. It was difficult to write this, but it is something that helps me express what had happen with my son and his short journey. Please, just take caution when reading.*

There are a lot of ‘Mom Blogs’ out in the web. Some talk about how to take care of a child or their experiences with their child’s first achievements in life. But I haven’t seen very many that talk about the experience of having a child with a heart disease. Let’s just say that it’s very much an emotional rollar coaster.

Well, that’s what it was for me. My son was diagnosed with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) when I was 22 weeks pregnant with him. Basically, HLHS is when the left side of their heart is either underdeveloped or never formed. Once he was born, he would have to go into surgery within the first week of life.

Altogether, he would have to go through 3 major surgeries with in the first 3 years of his life. Now, I was 18 when I was pregnant with my son, Liam. Image being me at 18, and being told that there was a very big change that he wouldn’t make it. Liam’s everyday life would be either life or death.

The happy family that my fiance and I imaged had changed. We didn’t know if he would make it to his first birthday. We had so many unanswered questions. Would he be able to play sports when he gets older? Would he need a heart transplant in the future if his starts to fail? Or the big question that we wanted to know: Would he ever make it home from the hospital?

Because of how serious his disease was, we weren’t able to have him, in our state. We were recommended to go down to Boston Children’s Hospital. We were told that they deal with congenital heart defects everyday. It made me and our family feel a lot better about having Liam there.

Once Liam was born, he was the most beautiful baby boy that I ever laid eyes on. You couldn’t see that there was anything wrong with him, but on the inside, there was a struggling heart that we would of never noticed.

As soon as I hear him cry, I started to cry myself. They cleaned him up and gave him medicine, to keep the values from closing. We could only hold him for a minute before they took him up to where he needed to be.

I finally got to hold him longer, later that day. I wanted to keep holding him because I knew that once he had his surgery, it would be a very long time until we were able to hold him again. They planned for his first surgery to be on June 27th, 2016, 3 days after his birth.

My fiance and I spent the entire day with him, holding him, getting as much closeness as we could. Until, the morning of his surgery came. We walked down with him, until we got to the point we weren’t able to go past. We both kissed his and held his little fingers. Praying that god would watch over our little boy.

During that day, we got out of the hospital, trying to get our minds off of the fact that they were doing surgery on our son. I wanted to wait all day, but my fiance and I agreed it would be best to go out and get some fresh air. We got frequent updates, while Liam was in surgery. It made me feel better that someone cared enough to let us know that everything was going smoothly and that they would keep us posted until he was our of surgery.

Once they called to let us know that he was doing great, they told us that he was all set to see visitors. I was nervous and scared to see how he looked. Even when we got closer to his room, tears already started to pour down my face.

As a parent, you never want your children to go through surgery or be hooked up to anything. Seeing Liam for the first time out of surgery, was life changing. His chest wasn’t closed, they keep the chest open for a few days to make sure everything is working out fine before they close it. Every time I would go to see him, I asked that they covered his heart, just when I was in there. I don’t know why, but I felt uncomfortable.

As weeks went passed, they finally closed his chest and slowly started to take him off some medication and his breathing tube. We were finally able to hold our son again, after about 4 weeks from his surgery.

We thought that things were going great, he was able to leave the NICU and move over to what they called was ‘The Floor’, meaning that Liam still needed nurses, but not 24/7, like he did in the NICU. The doctors said that once he was able to start eating from a bottle or breast and a few other things, he would be able to go home.

Day 2, of being on ‘The Floor’, was the most horrible day of my life. The nurse had come in to give Liam his medicine and he was being fussy, so she suggested that I pick him up and rock him. All of a sudden, my worst nightmare had happen. He stopped breathing in my arms.

The nurse took him and pressed the code blue button, 7-8 other hospital staff rushed in to help, they took him back over the NICU. I followed them, shocked and frighted. My fiance rushed over to the hospital, they wouldn’t allow both parents to stay in the room together, so he had to stay at a place that was a mile away from the hospital.

My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t know what to do, they had a nurse stay with me until my fiance got there. All I could say was, ‘he stopped breathing in my arms.’

They did CPR on him for 45 minutes until they were able to get on bypass. They didn’t know what happened. They figured it was a blood clot that blocked blood from reaching his heart. The told us that they were going to try and take him off bypass slowly and hope for the best, but if he was still on it after a week, there was a good chance that Liam wouldn’t make it.

During the time he was on bypass, Liam had brain damage, from getting CPR for too long, kidneys and liver were starting to fail. We ended up sitting down with a few doctors and his surgeon. We also got our immediate family to come up, for the support. They said that once we can get him off bypass, that they would be able to determined if he would still have brain activity, but by the looks of what they were trying to read, he had little to none brain activity.

My fiance and I looked at each other and prayed that god wouldn’t take Liam from us. He did. On July 23rd, 2016 at 4 in the morning, our son had passed away. When they took him off bypass, he was doing fine, but slowly started to decline. My fiance, his mother, my mother and I, were with him when he passed. I held him until his heart stopped beating.

Everyone I knew, their baby got to come home in their car seat,  but Liam never even left the hospital. He didn’t come home in a car seat. He came home in a box. Every mother’s worst night mare.

It was really hard to write this, but I think it’s time that everyone knows that not every baby born in this world is perfectly normal. I rather tell people my experience than let every mother or soon-to-be mother think that everyone’s child is born healthy.

Because my son wasn’t born healthy. His heart disease was something that not even doctors know how it was caused. I’ve googled it thousands of times, no one know’s why HLHS happens or any congenital birth defect.

This year will be two years that Liam has been gone. I’ll never get to see him on his first birthday or see him walk or talk for the first time. He was two days shy of being a month old.

But there is one thing that I want to let everyone know. Whether your child was on this world for a day, month, or years, you can’t just get over it. People think that because Liam wasn’t even a month old, that I can just get over it.

To this day, I still cry about him, not as much as I first did, but I do still cry about him. I always will. He is my little Simba and I miss and love him so much.

On a happier note, Liam gave us a surprise from up above. We were blessed with our daughter, Isabella on October 25th 2017, our rainbow baby. I believe that he knew we were ready to be parents, as cheesy as it may sound, and gave us our healthy daughter.

Every year on his birthday, we release balloons, in honor of him. In honor of our heart warrior, our little Simba. Now, our Simba is looking down and watching over his little sister from up above.

Liam Michael (June 25th, 2016 – July 23rd, 2016)

Liam Michael
Our little heart warrior

 

Posted in Mom Talk

Mom Talk: The Aftermath Of Having Babies

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Babies given our life full of joy, over-tiredness, happiness, exhaustion, etc. We carried them for 9 months, experienced all of their movements and felt them grow inside us over time. No one really talks about what happens after birth, what happens to us mother after the baby is born.

I think that no one wants to see the aftermath of having a child because it’s not pretty. I’ve had natural births, so I don’t know if it is the same aftermath with a c-section. Forewarning you, some of this stuff that I will be talking about might be really gross for some of you, so if you don’t have a really strong stomach, I wouldn’t continue to read.

Once you get to the end of your pregnancy, you might be at that point where you just want your kid to come out. No joke. For me, that statement was 100% true. I loved being pregnant, but the further you get, the more uncomfortable it is. Especially if you were pregnant during the summer.

With my son, I was induced, due to his condition. Being induced was a bitch. It was a lot more painful vs. having your child naturally. My daughter wasn’t needed to be induced, thank god.

When you start to go through labor, from my view, its not bad until you hit that 6-7 cm. Then you kinda just want to grab your spouse and want to punch them in the nuts, but don’t really do that.

The pain and everything went away when I had my children in my arms, or once I saw them. Everyone things that it’s such a happy time, well, you are dead wrong. If you have your children naturally, be prepared to bleed for the next couple weeks.

That pregnancy glow you once had, has changed to a Walking Dead add on. To this day, my daughter is 7 months old, and I still look like a Walking Dead extra. Then again, pj’s are my best friend.

Your boobs hurt, if you are breastfeeding, I was only able to do it for a little bit, but to this day, they will always leak. Not to mention that it hurts to go to the bathroom, to me, I felt that I was in labor again after the first time. For that first month or two, you feel like shit. You feel even worst when baby blues or depression hits you at the same time.

It’s all worth it in the end, they tell you. Well, the one thing that isn’t worth it, and I still have this issue, peeing when you sneeze. You are stuck with that in the end too. Hell, I have to hold my sneeze unless I want to pee myself. At this point, you are better off wearing Depends now.

 

Posted in Mom Talk

Mom Talk: Should You Smoke Around Your Children?

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Back in the day, we didn’t know how bad smoking cigarettes can be. Now, you don’t see any commercials promoting cigarettes or tobacco. Still to this day, people still smoke cigarettes.

Had I smoked a cigarette before. Yes, but I didn’t smoke enough for me to become addicted to them. My fiance smokes and last year, he almost went an entire year without smoking, but unfortunately, he got back into the nasty habit.

Smoking is a very difficult thing to quit, but one thing that drives me nuts is parents who smoke around babies or children. I believe that a baby or a child shouldn’t be anywhere never or around cigarettes.

Some of you may think that its okay, just because you grew up in a time your parents smoked around you. It’s not. Second hand smoke is even worst then just smoking a cigarette. It’s even worst for babies or children to inhale it.

Even when you are in another room or holding up the cigarette away from the child, they can still inhale the second hand smoke. Especially in a car. Rolling down the windows WILL NOT prevent the smoke from getting to the child.

As a mother, who had a child with a heart condition, it’s even more fatal. I’m one of those moms that will not go into a house or car if it smells like cigarette smoke. I was never around it and I want my kids to not be around it.

I especially don’t want to hear or see my kids pretending or wanting to smoke a cigarette. I will teach my children that cigarettes are bad and that you shouldn’t be like someone just because the smoke cigarettes.

I believe that my children should be able to breathe in fresh clean air versus second hand smoke. I’ve lost family because of cigarettes, I don’t want to risk my children’s life just because someone has to have a habit that they started.

Posted in Mom Talk

Mom Talk: Being a Stay-At-Home Mom

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A lot of moms don’t have the pleasure to stay home with their children nowadays. Back then, the man of the house would work, while the woman stay home and take care of the kids and make sure the house is clean.

It’s not for everyone, being a stay-at-home mom. If you are like me, and don’t have a license, then you are very limited to where you can go. (I’m working on getting it now.) The only places I can really walk to are to my mother-in-law.

It can be depressing or you can lose your mind at times, believe me, but I always get out of the house, once a week. Just so I don’t lose my mind. At times, I feel overwhelm, but I just take a deep breath and count to ten and then get back to what I’m doing.

I’ll admit that I really only have patience for my kids, but when I am around other people’s children, I really try to not lose my cool.

You might be saying that I am a terrible person for saying that, but I may not be the only one who thinks this way. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I just don’t like how other people raise theirs, but I don’t say anything. I keep it to myself.

Anyway, the best part of staying home, is that I get to spend all day and every day with my daughter. I don’t get to miss out on her firsts of everything. The best part, my fiance makes enough for us to do it. He busts his ass everyday to make sure that I am able to do it.

Of course that wasn’t my original plan. I had a job, and ended up getting pregnant with our daughter. I planned to go back to work, after my maternity leave, but once my daughter was born, all I could think of was that I didn’t want to miss out on her growing up.

Plus, I didn’t want someone else to raise my daughter. I wanted to be the one to witness all of her firsts. My mother missed out on watching all three of us growing up. I didn’t want to miss out on anything.

I do have to say though, being a stay-at-home mom, was the best decision I made. Once I get my license, the door will open up for me and my family. We won’t have to depend on someone to take us to where ever we want to go, but we will be able to decide whether we want to leave or go.

Posted in Mom Talk

Mom Talk: Losing Friends

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A lot of things change once you have a baby. Not only does your life change, but sometimes your friends too. They might be excited when your pregnant, but once the baby is born and you don’t have time to spend with them, things changed.

You might even drop some friends in the process. Not because they weren’t good friends, but maybe you were more mature and didn’t want to deal with their drama?

That’s how it was for me.

I have kept so many people in my life, that caused me so much drama and problems, but I should’ve been clearing them from my life and focusing what would be best for my family.

Today, I cleaned the list up, the one person I first called my ‘best friend’. I’ve known her since 8th grade. We went to high school together, had lunch together, but didn’t hang out as much like we should’ve.

We both have been through enough, but I was always there for her. As time went on, I knew that everything I was telling her, my opinion or suggestions, was going out the window. Then I realized that this was who she was:

She was unwanted drama.

Everything that I had tried to help her on, always became into drama. Now, I’m not the friend who tells you what you want to hear, I tell you what I think. She didn’t like it, but knows how blunt I can be.

After all the drama that she’s caused, I had to drop her. I sent her one last messaged and blocked her from everything. She was the only real friend I had in high school, but it was time to grow up and move on. So that’s what I did.

I was getting to mature to deal with all the ‘high school’ drama that she was starting. One after another, I was overwhelmed with drama. Not mine, with hers. I did it because I thought it was best for me.

Sometimes you have to do something you really don’t want to do, but once you have a family, you have to answer the one question that you will answer over and over again:

What is best for my family?

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I chose to do what is best. Not because I wanted to, but because I needed to. It was what was best for my little family.

‘A friend can always be replaced, but family is irreplaceable.’ – Unknown