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Baby is born and all is well?
After an easy pregnancy and not so easy delivery, we had an 8lb 3oz baby boy on November 24, 1999. During our 24 hour stay at the hospital, he was checked by his pediatrician Dr. Melissa Renolds who told us that he would have jaundice (he was really red when he was born) and we attempted to master the art of breastfeeding. We were discharged and were on our way to spending our first Thanksgiving as a "family".

Five days later we took him to his pediatrician for a check-up and PKU. We were sent to the community hospital for a bilirubin check. The results came back at 19.6 which is potentially dangerous, so we were told to return the next day for another check. The results were 16.7 and we were then told to place him near a window in sunlight.

Carson had already started sleeping through the night. He was lethargic. He was difficult to wake for feedings, would usually fall asleep while eating and his skin was clammy. His breathing became labored and his head would bob up and down all the time.

This being our first child, we were unaware that our son was different from other babies. We began taking him in for weight checks because I was nursing and wanted to be at ease with this method. Dr. Renolds became concerned because he wasn't gaining weight, so we were at the doctor's office 2 or 3 times a week. It was very important to us to nurse our child eventhough we were told that his insufficient weight gain was probably due to lack of calories in the breast milk. After 7 weeks, pumping 24 hours a day, continuing to nurse and taking medicine to increase breast milk supply he was still not thriving.  Finally at 8 weeks we began supplementing formula per ped. recommendation.  He was still losing weight. At the 8 week visit a nurse noticed the retraction in his chest had gotten worse and after an examination by Dr. Renolds we were sent back to the community hospital for chest x-rays. We received a call that day informing us that the hospital had determined he had Pneumonia because they found fluid in his lungs. We were told to follow up in one week.

During that week he showed no signs of pneumonia. We followed up on Jan. 26, 2000. At that visit the ped. detected a heart murmur and referred us to a pediatric cardiologist. The next day we met with Dr. David Jones. He listened to Carson's chest and said  "Your son has a significant heart problem and without immediate surgery he could only survive another day or two". He did an Electrocardiogram and an Echocardiogram and found a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), severe coarctation of the aorta (coarct), hypoplastic aortic arch  and Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) which explained the fluid in his lungs. He made arrangements for immediate admission to Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. We were devastated to hear our 9 week old son had to undergo open heart surgery to save his life.  This event would change our life forever...

Carson's Heart Surgery
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