A Giving Heart: One Family’s Rush Experience

By Colleen Berk

Like many parents, my husband, Mike, and I weren’t prepared for the day our son, Brayden, was born. We’d chosen that weekend to move and, generally speaking, I don’t think any first-time parents are prepared until they are holding their beautiful baby in their arms. It’s like a switch flips, and you want nothing more than to protect and love them. The amount of love that instantly grows is immeasurable; we were on cloud nine. So when the pediatrician stopped by for a routine visit after Brayden was born, we didn’t think much of it. All of the tests done while I was pregnant came back perfect — why would anything change now? And then she told us: Brayden had aortic valve stenosis (AVS). In an instant, it felt like all of the air had been sucked out of the room.

For the next month, we were living under water, shuttling our innocent little bundle to doctors for echocardiograms, researching AVS and trying to make sense of what was happening. And then, the day before Brayden turned one month old, the decision was made that doctors would need to intervene and do a balloon procedure on Brayden’s tiny, baby heart. We were to report for surgery the next day at 6 a.m. Continue reading