Messi turned 1 year old on February 4. He is such a great dog, and these boys obviously love him BIG! He has been the perfect addition to our family over the last 10 months, and we are excited to spend many, many more birthdays with him in the years to come. I think he has finally won Jason over as well, even though I'm sure he will never admit it!
Thursday, February 2, 2017
March 25, 2008 is a day that Jason and I will not soon forget. This was the day of our 20 week ultrasound for our second child. As the ultrasound tech was taking all of the required pictures, we were anxiously waiting to hear those words, “it’s a…” Finally, she took that tell all picture, and it was very obvious to everyone that “it’s a boy!” We were so excited to have a second little boy, and we couldn’t wait to call all of our family and friends. As we sat in the waiting room, we sent messages to pretty much everyone we knew telling them the big news.
After several minutes of waiting, the nurse called us to a room. Jason and I were still very excited, but as we sat in that patient room, we started to get a little nervous. We should not have had that long of a wait to see the doctor and the nurse was unusually quiet when she brought us back to the room. Then, the door opened, and our doctor appeared with tears in her eyes. I knew then that something was definitely not right.
The doctor sat down with us and explained that the ultrasound showed some abnormalities in our baby’s heart. They were unable to find the right side of his heart. Jason and I were both in complete shock. What did she mean they couldn’t find the right side of his heart? How could he only have half of a heart? Our emotions quickly turned from thinking of baby boy names to worrying if he would survive the remainder of my pregnancy.
After another very lengthy ultrasound at a pediatric cardiologist office a few days later, we learned that our baby would be born with severe heart defects, Tricuspid Atresia and Hypoplastic Right Heart, along with some other minor issues. He would need a series of 3 major heart surgeries in the first 3 years of his life in order to survive. These surgeries could not completely repair his heart (he will never have a “normal” heart), but they could repair it to where it would be functional. These surgeries would also place him at high risk for developmental delays and feeding problems. I don’t think I spoke to friends or family for weeks after hearing this diagnosis. I was trying so hard to hold myself together for Brody, our 1 year old. All that kept running through my mind was, “how is this precious baby boy going to get through this?” and “how is our family going to get through this?” Jason and I both knew that we were starting a long and difficult journey.
On August 4, 2008, Colby Chance Hitchcock was born. He spent 11 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, where his heart and lungs were closely monitored. Surprisingly, we were able to take Colby home without immediate surgical intervention, but at 2 months old he was unexpectedly admitted back into Children’s Hospital through the Emergency Room. The cardiologist in the ER quickly determined that it was time for his first heart surgery, the BT Shunt. This surgery was necessary to increase the blood flow to Colby’s lungs, because his oxygen saturation levels (sats) had dropped from the mid 80s to low 50s in a matter of hours. Seeing him like this was terrifying.
In August of 2009, after his first birthday, Colby returned for his second operation, the Glenn. The Glenn is an open heart surgery where they place a permanent shunt into his heart. After only 5 days in the hospital, our little fighter was ready to go home.
Colby had his third major surgery, the Fontan, in March of 2011 at 2 1/2 years old. This surgery completely bypassed the right side of his heart, leaving him with only half of a functioning heart.
In addition to these three major heart surgeries, Colby has endured 3 Cath procedures, multiple x-rays, echos, EKGs, a couple of ambulance rides to the ER, physical therapy to help with his gross motor delays, feeding therapy, holter monitors, and many, many cardiology visits.
Colby’s journey is not over. Unfortunately, his heart will never be “fixed.” He will continue to live his life with only half of a heart, and multiple other issues can develop because of this. There are days where I worry myself with all the “what ifs.” What if his heart rate gets so low he passes out? What if he has to get a pacemaker? What if his half of a heart gets too tired from all the work it has to do? What if he needs more open heart surgeries? The “what ifs” can go on and on. CHDs are complicated, unpredictable, and scary, and they make me want to fight for Colby and all of the other babies affected with a congenital heart defect.
Our family has learned a lot from Colby and his CHD journey. We have learned the true fragility of life, learned to not take any milestones for granted, and learned to love like we have never loved before! We have also learned the need for and importance of CHD research, blood donation, and organ donation. These three things can save so many lives. This is why we started holding our Blood Drive and Bake Sale back in 2009, when Colby was only 6 months old. We want to do whatever we can to encourage people to become blood donors, and we want to raise as much money as possible to donate directly to the CHD research being done at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. This research will benefit so many little ones born with a congenital heart defect. These strong little fighters need this research to help them keep on fighting!
On Sunday, January 29, the boys played in the Hendersonville High School Indoor tournament, and both of their teams won their divisions. This was Colby's first time to win a tournament as a TN United Soccer player...he was beyond excited! Both of these boys just love playing, and I absolutely love watching them!