My daughter, Meredith Grace, was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot when she was 4 days old.
Dr. Bockoven told us that we were now a part of the Akron Children’s family. I remember telling him I’m sure that was wonderful, but it was also the last thing I wanted to hear.
Every parent knows their child will someday have their heart broken, and there’s nothing we can do to fix it. No one expects their child to start out with a broken heart.
We had to be very careful to not let her cry, as it could bring on a cyanotic spell (not sure how we kept that from happening – I remember that I didn’t sleep much). Her medications made her cold, so she slept in an outfit that would have been overkill in the snow.
Throughout all of this, Dr. Bockoven was just a text or call away at all times. He treated Meredith like she was his own child. He also talked to another “Tet mom,” who then called me to talk me through things. It was the first time I felt better about any of it – and it was so amazing of him to go above and beyond like that, and her to reach out.
Initially we thought her surgery would be at 6 months. But with her blood oxygen level hovering in the 60s, it got moved up to when she was 11 weeks, weighing only 9 lbs.
During our stay, my strength came from the nurses. Not only did they take amazing care of my daughter, but they also took care of me. Kept me updated, kept me distracted, and made sure I slept.
Laura told me about Socks 4 Surgery (an amazing organization). Deb got Meredith to calm down when she freaked out about her breathing tube. And all of them were a perfect balance of kindness and professionalism.
We loved them so much, we actually took pictures of Meredith with all of them and made a photo book that we brought back a few months later.
Meredith is now a happy, healthy toddler (she turns 2 in November). She’s a sweet, smart, stubborn little girl who will proudly point to her “hero scar” if you ask.
Akron Children’s Hospital gave me the greatest gift I could have asked for – I got to keep my baby. And I will forever be thankful.