Pregnancy was the best experience of my life. I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to do it again. I had a textbook pregnancy. It was a breeze, and I never understood the people that spent their pregnancies scared, upset, irritable, or anything but happy. That was all true until I met Michelle and Randy.
Michelle won a free photo session through my fan page on Facebook, and immediately she knew she wanted maternity photos. I was excited to work with her, but I’m excited to work with all my clients. Her session wasn’t special yet, at that moment, it was just another perfect little bump. Then she told me her story.
She and her husband had been pregnant before, but they suffered a miscarriage and weren’t sure how it would affect their chances of conceiving again. Now she was pregnant again. It was a little girl, and her name was going to be Molli Faith. But Molli was special, because at 20 weeks gestation, instead of just finding out that they would be having a little girl like most parents-to-be do, they found out that their perfect little princess was also going to need a string of surgeries to keep her alive. Molli had not just one, but two congenital heart defects (CHD), and to have both of them together was practically unheard of.
This story hit home very quickly. Some of the readers may have read my story about my daughter’s birth. She also had a CHD, though it was not nearly as dangerous, and hers was common. She was lucky. Instantly, I had a bond with Michelle that I believe will never be broken. She taught me a lot about the defects Molli has, what could be done, and what her chances were.
Since she was born, Molli has had 2 open heart surgeries, one at 4 days old and another at just under 3 months, and countless hospital stays. Her first 4 months of life were lived at Hershey Hospital. My first question for Michelle was about a transplant. Why couldn’t this sweet little girl get a heart transplant and live a long and healthy life? Unfortunately, a transplant could send her into lung and heart failure. Michelle’s advice to other parents who discover health issue in utero — or ever!—-is to “ALWAYS keep the faith” and that this is very hard on families, “so be sure to ask questions, don’t be afraid.”
The test that discovered Molli’s defects ISN’T routine. It’s up to the discretion of your doctor to perform the test, so Michelle’s advice is to always request an in depth heart scan to rule out, or discover, any possible defects. For parent’s who don’t know where to start, I asked Michelle to provide me with a list of questions to ask at your week 20 pre-natal visit:
- Do you see 4 chambers?
- Is the heart rate normal?
- Does the heart function/squeeze normal?
- Do you look at all the arteries during the scan?
- Is the heart and the stomach in the correct postion?
I have been blessed to follow Miss Molli’s story on Facebook and am pleased to announce she has been kicking CHD BUTT! Molli has been a constant reminder to me to keep the faith in everything I do, but also to appreciate everything I do, and everything I get to see my daughter do. Her parents are my heroes, and I truly can’t say enough good about them.
This story isn’t to entertain you, or even meant to tug on your heart strings. Molli is doing very well, has developed a love of Minnie Mouse and her puppy dogs, and is extremely blessed with prayers and love. This is here to educate, because I was not aware to ask these questions, and I assumed my doctor would do all scans needed in order to guarantee that my baby was as healthy as can be.
I hope all my readers can learn from, relate to, and maybe even pray for Miss Molli and her family as they continue this journey battling CHD. CHD’s take the lives of more children EVERY YEAR than ALL childhood cancer’s combined. To help Molli, and other children fighting CHD, click here
. Half of the proceeds go towards research for CHD.