As I mentioned in my initial post about the Heart Project, I have a personal interest in raising funds and awareness for Congenital Heart Defects. I am an adult with congenital heart defects.
I was born in 1976 with complex congenital heart defects (CHD), including situs inversus totalus (all organs mirror imaged from “normal”), CCTGV (congenitally corrected transposition of the great vessles: the right and left sides of my heart have been reversed in function due to the switch of the “great vessels”), large ASD and VSD (holes between the top and bottom chambers of my heart), and pulminary stenosis (a narrowing of the pulminary artery).
I have since undergone many surgeries. My first, a shunt, was when I was 5 years old. My most recent was one year ago to replace the generator on my ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator). The total comes to 20 at this time. Not all of them have been heart related, surprisingly enough!
I met my husband when I was 19 and a freshman in college. We started dating a month after becoming friends. We continued to date for the next 5 years, until he finally “popped the question” on our 5th anniversary. We married 6 months later in June of 2001. I had my second open heart surgery one week after our first anniversary. He has been there for 12 of my 16 surgeries. He has known from the very beginning that I would not be able to carry his child, but he loves me anyway. We are so lucky to have each other and wanted very much to have children.
We originally thought the only option available to us would be adoption. However, a coworker (and my mother) encouraged us to look into surrogacy. After years of research, saving, and praying, we found our wonderful surrogate and are now parents to two and a half year old twins.
My life is not my CHD. I live every moment for my kids. But sometimes my heart does step in the way of my ability to do all that I want to for them. I am so blessed to have been born in a time when not only has medical technology made it possible for someone like me to become a mother through surrogacy, but has also made it possible for me to be alive to see them grow. Had I been born in another time, it is almost certain I would not have lived to see adulthood.
The research that the American Heart Association does for kids and adults with CHD is invaluable. Please consider donating and spreading the word. In return for your $5 donation, you will receive The Heart Project eBook as a gift.
Here is a link to a pinterest board showing just a small selection of the people you are helping. Please take a moment to read their stories.