During my 30th week of pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and referred to Maternal-Fetal Medicine for Level 2 ultra sounds to track our baby boy's progress. During a Level 2 ultrasound, we were told that our baby had a hole in his heart. We were sent to Amplatz Children's Hospital for a fetal echo that confirmed there was a moderate VSD, but the cardiologist was hopeful that the hole would close on its own. As a precaution, the NICU team was available during my delivery and an echocardiogram was scheduled before the baby was 24 hours old in order to get more accurate images of his heart.
On August 25 at 5:04am Oliver Edward Hertzfeld was born weighing 6lbs 11oz. As the NICU team was assessing Oliver, my doctor announced, "He is perfect!" We spent 24 carefree hours with Oliver before his echocardiogram.
Immediately after his echo, Oliver was transferred by ambulance to Amplatz Children's Hospital and diagnosed with the following congenital heart defects.
Interrupted Aortic Arch (Type A) A healthy heart has five different branches from the aorta that carry oxygen rich blood to the body. Oliver was missing the connection to carry blood to the lower half of his body. This is a very rare heart defect that only effects 3 in 1,000,000 babies.
Aortic Valve Stenosis Because Oliver developed only four of the five branches of the aorta, the main aortic valve was small.
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) There is a small hole in the right atrium, but the cardiologists believe that this will close in it's own.
Ventrical Septal Defect (VSD) Oliver had a large hole between the right and left ventricle.
During Oliver's first open heart surgery when he was 11 days old, Dr. St Louis repaired his aorta and closed his VSD. The surgery was complicated by complete heart block, paralyzed diaphragm, and vocal cord paralysis. Two weeks later Oliver had a pacemaker implanted to keep his heart beating. He also developed Pyloric Stenosis (unrelated to his heart issues), which was repaired when he was five weeks old.
On May 15, 2013, Oliver had his third open heart surgery to repair the narrowing in his aorta which was caused by the initial repair of the Interrupted Aortic Arch. During this procedure he also had new pacer wires attached to his heart in preparation for his next pacemaker surgery. The surgery was successful and his recovery went even better than expected.
Ollie will have many surgeries throughout his life to keep his heart beating strong, but the doctors expect him to live a full life with minimal limitations. Oliver is a strong, brave, beautiful boy and we are so thankful for every moment we share with him.
When I think back on Oliver's first birthday party, I think of all of our friends and family that came to celebrate his heroic first year. It meant so much to me and my husband to have such a beautiful and delicious cake for Oliver and to be able to share it with all of the people that had supported our little family throughout that challenging first year. Today Oliver is a thriving 18 month old boy, and we can not wait to celebrate future birthdays and milestones with yummy cakes made by Cakes from Grace!