Reid’s Story

“We never know the love of the parent; until we become parents ourselves” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Isn’t that the truth? I thought I knew everything (just ask my Parent’s they’ll tell you…) At first when Abby was born, Brent and I thought we were busy (ha…) new first time parents, you know the drill. Then we had (surprise!) twins… I say surprise because I was half way through my pregnancy when we found it there were ‘two of them in there’ I think we’re still in shock! Then I went into labour early – it was a pretty scary time. I’m grateful for the healthcare and top notch hospitals we have in Hamilton – I wouldn’t be here writing my witty note, and my beautiful babies wouldn’t be gracing my Facebook pages – without them.

After we (I won’t say got over, because frankly I’m never going to do that) the shock of us having twins, we had to deal with the reality that one of them was pretty sick. Ashlan and Reid were born 4 weeks early via an emergency C-section that saved their, and my life – and while they were terrific sizes (A: 5lbs 7oz R: 6lbs 1oz) they spent some time in the NICU at St. Joes and McMaster Sick Kids.

When Ashlan was released from the NICU at St. Joes at 3 weeks, Reid was transferred to Mac for another 3 – where we discovered he has a heart and lung condition called Pulmonary Valve Stenosis (PVS) – something no parent ever wants to hear. My son now has a Cardiologist… I thought you had to be ‘old’ for one of those. Joking aside – the first year of his life was spent in and out of the hospital – we decided we should just have a dinner party and invite all the different departments so we could get all the testing done and over with at once (I wish…)

Once we got the all clear from Genetics (again, no parent should have to deal with this… nice, incredibly talented and intelligent Dr., but no thanks.) we decided that Reid was made up from the same stuff as his Daddy. Needless to say he’s not going to be 6’5” and 300lbs. Ever. And parted ways with all the other testing. Except the Cardiologist – that wasn’t a choice to abandon her.

Things were rolling along fine – we knew the symptoms to watch for (or so I thought…) and were told that he will be the person they’re referring to when giving the heat warnings and he won’t be able to play competitive, contact sports (again, I’m ok with that…) but that surgery wouldn’t be needed. I went in with this mindset last October for his yearly Echocardiogram and EKG – just the regular check up I thought. To say we were caught off guard when the results came back that the obstruction in his valve was now at the point where they needed to do something – He was at risk for a heart attack – is an understatement. I don’t think I will ever fully recover from that news.

(Side note: this is where I’m nominating myself for ‘Mother of the Year Award – I’ve won, so everyone else, back off.) All those times we walked to the park – ok Starbucks – and he told me he was tired, and I said ‘no you’re not’ – well… yes, yes he was. In fact, he couldn’t breathe… see: winner!

In addition to McMaster, we are so very lucky to have Toronto Sick Kids so close. ALL the staff (from the Surgeons to the Parking Attendants) are simply Amazing. I could write about just that experience alone. Reid had day surgery (that is amazing in of itself.) to (in effect tear open…) the obstruction 4 days before Christmas. On Christmas day, his energy outlasted his Sisters – THAT was a miracle.

We just had his follow-up from the surgery and I’m so happy to say that his Cardiologist has given him two thumbs up… they are pleased with the results – and while they’re still monitoring that valve and another one that is a bit smaller than it should be – they don’t need to see him until next year. Yes, that’s right – next year. I can breathe now…

We weren’t going to put a team into the Big Bike this year… The whole ‘Donor Fatigue’ thing. We participate in so many things – which I am very honoured to do – but also realize that we’re not going to have any friends left if we keep asking them to support us… Then we realized how silly that was. It’s the Heart and Stroke Foundation – the very organization that is there FOR OUR SON!! You support those you love and care about. Those you like and respect. Those who, even if you don’t know them – you can empathize with them and, god forbid when you truly need the (support, in whatever way) you hope that someone is there for you – and created #ReidsRiders. Out of all the things we are part of – THIS ONE – really, truly is, close to our hearts. Want to donate – or join our team? CLICK HERE!

So from the bottom of our – mine, Brent, Abby, Ashlan and Reid’s – hearts, we thank you. Thank you for all your support for us, your notes, messages, dinners, wine – and your time and donations – thank you.

<3 Amanda

@InspireHamilton