As told by Gabriel’s mother Lisa
Pregnant with our first child, I learned that my unborn son would be born with a heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and would need a heart transplant immediately following his birth in order to survive. Not knowing what this meant, I struggled to make sense of all that was happening, but was determined to do the very best for my baby.
On the day Gabriel Gideon (Gideon means “mighty warrior”), decided to come into the world, he appeared big and strong and for the start of our new family, those first few moments were bliss.
But a short 36 hours later, Gabriel was taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado. When he arrived there, the transplant team worked around the clock to evaluate his condition confirm his diagnosis and establish a plan of action. Within 24 hours, Gabriel was listed on the UNOS transplant list. I was told that the wait for a heart could be anywhere from three to six months and prepared myself for the duration.
Gabriel received his new heart just thirteen days after coming into the world. When his new heart started beating on its own, there were literal shouts of joy in the waiting room.
When our family was allowed to see Gabriel, it was shocking to see my new baby in that condition. He was swollen to about three times his normal size and had IV’s in at least eight different places. There were so many medications flooding his tiny body but it was easy to see beyond the trauma of his surgery because we all knew this was his only chance at survival.
Each day brought new healing – he eventually opened his eyes, got his chest closed and the ventilator removed. In less than a week, he was moved out of the Cardiac ICU and into the Infant Care Center and we brought him home just ten days after his transplant.
Today, Gabriel is thriving and living life to its fullest as every six year old knows how to do, celebrating his newfound ability to ride his bike without training wheels and reading. I know that part of the reason he has done so well is because of my consistent due diligence in giving him his medication, keeping him away from illnesses and washing our hands as often as we can.