February is Heart Disease Awareness Month. Everyone knows someone with some kind of heart disease. Chances are someone very close to you has or has had heart disease. I lost my grandmother when I was a teenager to a heart attack. Our lives are so precious and fragile. The heart is a vital organ, both figuratively and literally. Many people think of middle aged and elderly when they think of heart disease, but unfortunately, for some it starts as soon as they’re born.
Valentine’s Day, yesterday was the last day of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Awareness Week, and I wanted to share the story of one little boy who is nothing short of a miracle to wind up Awareness Week. I got to photograph this sweet boy and his brother this past Christmas and my heart could just burst with joy for their family. My friend Taylor, who owns Battle Gritt Apparel, and has a heart of gold, was pregnant with her second precious baby boy this past year. He was born in mid-July and at first appeared to be a bounding healthy little boy. Soon afterwards a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot was discovered and their world turned upside down.
Mason went on to have 2 open heart surgeries, with numerous complications. It was a tough time, as you can imagine. Taylor shared that there were nights when she called a friend in tears, and her friend reminded her to, “just pray.” Their prayers were answered and Mason was finally able to come home and be with his mom and brother when he was around 2 months old. God is so good!
Through it all, I saw Taylor lean on her community, family, and God for strength. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, ” Taylor has set out to do just that—comfort those with the comfort she’s received. Since this scare with Mason, she has set out on a mission to raise awareness of this condition that went undetected during her pregnancy. Alas, Mason’s Heart Mission was formed.
According to Heart.org, this is how Tetralogy of Fallot, Mason’s specific heart defect, affects the heart?
“Normally the left side of the heart only pumps blood to the body, and the heart's right side only pumps blood to the lungs. In a patient with Tetralogy of Fallot, blood can travel across the hole (VSD) from the right pumping chamber (right ventricle) to the left pumping chamber (left ventricle) and out into the body artery (aorta). Obstruction in the pulmonary valve leading from the right ventricle to the lung artery prevents the normal amount of blood from being pumped to the lungs. Sometimes the pulmonary valve is completely obstructed (pulmonary atresia).” (https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/congenital-heart-defects/about-congenital-heart-defects/tetralogy-of-fallot )
According to Mason’s Heart Mission…
If you’re an expecting mama, be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have. But ultimately, know that no matter what comes your way in life, God is with you and will get you through it. He’s given us the gifts of family and community, to help us through these unexpected emergencies. We live in a blessed time, with the medical community, the knowledge, and the technology we have. Through God and these advancements he’s led us to, miracles happen every day. You never know what will come our way that grows our faith and changes our lives. Hug your littles and your bigs, never take a moment for granted, be present, and love those that God has given you as hard as you can.
And take tons of pictures, every chance you get!
If you're interested in sharing your story, please contact Lori Slott at Lori Slott Photography.