Friday, October 10, 2014


Tomorrow I plan to participate in the Puget Sound Heart Walk. It is an annual event to raise money for research on heart disease and stroke. I will be walking in honor of three amazing people, and I thought it might be cool to share their stories. You can donate here.

I could tell you Ethan's story, but his mom puts it so much better. Here is Amy with the story of her precious son (used with permission).


Ethan Kyle Durham was born on December 3, 2008 at 5:21 PM, weighing in at 7 lbs 10 oz and stretching out to 20 inches long.  After worrying for the past 39 weeks, we finally had our son and he was PERFECT!! The ride to that point was a bit bumpy and my induction ended up being a C-section but, even that was just a part of God's amazing plan. Unfortunately, I got sick and our hospital stay was extended.  That proved to be a big blessing as did the spur-of-the-moment pediatrician decision as I was undergoing my 2nd epidural.  Dillon and I couldn't remember the name of the one we had previously selected!  A nurse in the room and my OB both suggested someone and we went with that.

The day Ethan and I were to be released, our (yes, he is now OURS) pediatrician thought he heard a murmur in Ethan's heart.  Well, that prompted an echocardiogram and then eventual diagnosis of a condition called TGA or Transposition of the Great Arteries.  This defect (the aorta and pulmonary artery are on the wrong sides of the heart and have to be switched back) is life-threatening and, if we had taken Ethan home, who knows what might have happened!!

While it was rough to realize our baby boy would need open heart surgery, it is amazing to see how God saw us through to that point. Most defects of this nature are detected prior to the birth of the child (most as early as 20 weeks) but, since none of my doctors were looking for a defect (after all, he was born with all 4 chambers of his heart), it sort of slipped under the radar, even after having a level 2 sonogram done by a Perinatologist near the end of my pregnancy.

Most babies show signs at birth (like turning blue) but Ethan looked perfect because he had a few OTHER defects: holes in his heart (VSD &ASD) and his Ductus Arteriosus (allows blood to mix while in the womb) remained open (PDA). This ended up being another blessing because they acted as a bypass and kept his blood mixing (as a normal heart would do) which kept him in good shape until he could be operated on. Is God good or what?

Ethan had his surgery on December 12th, 2008 at Medical City Dallas Children's Hospital. Dr. Eric Mendeloff performed it and everything went off without a hitch. It is totally amazing how surgeons like him can operate on such delicate organs. There were parts of the surgery that were very critical but prayers held us all up and Ethan came through it like a champ. They had to leave his chest open because of precautionary reasons (swelling) and he was able to have that closed up on the 15th.  After a 4 week stay in the hospital, we were finally able to take our baby boy home!
So far, Ethan’s only setback has been some scar tissue buildup in the pulmonary artery and valve which was surgically addressed 4/15/09 by Dr. Mendeloff.   Because the pulmonary valve had to be patched, he will require another surgery to replace it (hopefully) years down the road.  He's also making his own growth chart, having struggled with feeding issues early on but he's hitting all his milestones and is full of "normal big boy" mischief!

Even though this "one-and-done" surgery ended up not being so, we are thankful for how far we've come, how strong our little man is, and how God has provided for us along the way.

Picture by Amy Durham. Used with permission.

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