February 7th through the 14th is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Every day this week, we will feature one guest post from the parent of a CHD warrior or angel. This is Cora's story...
Through my journey with congenital heart defects, I'm always surprised about how different, yet similar, this journey is for all of us. I have no clue what it means to spend time in the hospital beside a sick child. I cannot imagine the pain that Michelle went through keeping watch over Sawyer and that thousands of other families experience each day.
My daughter was diagnosed by the coroner. We never knew she was sick. I had a healthy pregnancy with Cora, and she was given a clean bill of health at the hospital. One early morning I was feeding her. I looked down and she was dead. I had no clue why. I first heard the phrase “congenital heart” from the coroner.
This week is all about making sure moms like Michelle and I don't have to talk to coroners and doctors telling us our baby is dead. I can still hear the doctor, “I'm sorry, but your baby is dead.” It's surreal. I cannot believe it happened. But, it does happen.
I know this awareness week means more to those of us directly affected, but I think everyone can relate to that. Babies shouldn't die.
- Kristine McCormick is the mother of Cora and an active advocate for the importance of pulse oximetry screening in newborns as a proven method help earlier detect congenital heart defects. Currently, legislation is pending in her home state of Indiana to make pulse oximetry screenings a mandatory test for every baby born in the state. For more information about Cora's story please visit http://www.corasstory.org