Kaiden came into this world on December 3, 2013 at 8:09am. He was just a little guy weighing 5 pounds 12 ounces. Just a few short days later on December 5th we were being discharged from the hospital to go home like any other normal family. However, prior to discharge, the pediatrician on call noticed his coloring was not normal and decided to check Kaiden’s heart. She said he had a murmur, and made us an appointment to have an echo cardiogram done the next morning. The next day, just a few moments into the echo, the lights came on and the room filled with nurses and doctors. They whisked my baby away while they tried to explain what was happening. He has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) which is a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) where, essentially, a baby is born with only half a heart. He also had a valve deformity which restricted the blood flow out of his heart. Because of this secondary defect he formed a blood clot in his heart. Devastation doesn’t describe the sadness and fear for my sweet baby. I would find out, later that day, that my precious little Kaiden would require the first of several open heart surgeries, the Norwood procedure. The palliative surgical procedures for HLHS patients is a 3 stage surgery – the Norwood, the Glenn and the Fontan procedures. These three surgeries are staged to help re-structure his special heart so he could live. And the first of these surgeries would happen the very next day!
Kaiden had a heart catheterization performed that first day at Vanderbilt Hospital. He’s had 6 heart catheterizations in all. Kaiden is a true heart warrior. At such an early age he fought just to live and has endured several procedures to help him thrive. In addition to his 2 open heart surgeries and 6 catheterizations thus far, he also received the Nissen surgery to place a g-tube which delivers nutrition. He’s come so far. What a warrior he is! In just a few short months he will undergo the Fontan procedure.