I smile whenever I watch my son, Christian, run, play or just be a normal toddler. It’s in these carefree moments that I reflect on how this energetic 2 year old is not only my sweet, spunky and stubborn boy – he’s also my miracle. Because 2 years ago, he was in a fight for his life at Akron Children’s Hospital.
Christian was born almost 6 weeks early with a congenital heart defect called transposition of the great arteries. The main arteries emerging from his heart were reversed, and his oxygen levels were so low, he was blue.
We soon found ourselves in Akron Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Elizabeth’s in the Mahoning Valley.
After he was stabilized, we were on our way to the Akron campus, where during the next 8 days, he underwent 2 heart surgeries that corrected the abnormality.
Christian’s father, Jeff, and I watched in awe as the devoted staff at Akron Children’s saved our son’s life. His physicians and nurses took the time to answer our questions and keep us informed about his condition, especially what to expect from his surgeries. They treated us like family.
Christian spent the next few weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), and then he was transferred back to the NICU at St. Elizabeth’s so that we could continue his care close to home.
Six weeks after he was born, our little boy was healthy enough to come home. No words can express the gratitude we have for all of Christian’s surgeons, physicians, nurses and the rest of the caring staff at Akron Children’s Hospital.
But the work wasn’t over when we got home. For the next year, Christian underwent physical, occupational and speech therapies at Akron Children’s Rehabilitative Services in the Mahoning Valley.
Christian was crawling by his first birthday. He hasn’t stopped moving – or growing – since. Once a year, we visit Dr. Grace Smith for a follow-up appointment. But aside from a scar on his chest, you’d never know he went through such an ordeal.
Because of the hospital’s expert medical team and Christian’s inherent stubbornness and fighting tenacity, I’m able to watch my son grow, run and play today.
Without Akron Children’s Hospital, Christian wouldn’t be here. They truly worked a miracle. They do so much for so many kids and our community. Saying “thank you” doesn’t feel like it’s enough. But we thank them with our whole heart.
Hear more about Christian’s story – and those of other patients in the Mahoning Valley – by tuning in to the 6th annual Miracles and Promises Radiothon. Broadcast live from Akron Children’s Beeghly campus, tune in to Mix 98.9 or 570 WKBN Sept. 17 – 19. Click here to support the Miracles and Promises Radiothon.