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Monday, February 8, 2010

CHD Awareness week

Sometimes on Twitter you end up 'meeting' someone in the most roundabout way, and they change your life. Such is the case with Kristine Brite McCormick.

Kristine was happily tucked in at home, rocking and nursing her sweet five day old baby girl Cora when the unthinkable happened. One moment she looked down at Cora's sweet milk drunk face happily and drowsily nursing and felt nothing but bliss. A few moments later a second glance provided nothing but terror. Sweet Cora's face was covered with blood and she was limp. Gone. Dead. Just like that. In a matter of seconds Kristine's life went from a dream to a nightmare.

She went through all of the thoughts I would have gone through...did I do something? Could this have been prevented? Kristine had a picture perfect pregnancy and Cora had been declared beautiful and healthy at the hospital. There was no indication that something might be wrong. What had happened?Once she had her answers Kristine began a journey that I only wish I would have the strength to embark on. She began saving babies lives. Immediately. Kristine says:

 'No parent should have to find out about Congenital Heart Disease from the coroner.' 

She'd like to be the only mother who has that experience from here on out.

You see Cora suffered from CHD, Congenital Heart Disease the number one birth defect and the number one killer of children. More than all the childhood cancers combined. Kristine had never heard of such a disease, as I had never heard of it and perhaps you haven't either.

The worst (and best) is that Cora's chances of survival would have been helped immeasurably by one simple test administered within the first 24-48 hours of her life. A cheap, painless, non-invasive test. A pulse oximetry test. You know...that clothespin-esque thing they clip on your pointer finger when you are in labor, or anytime you are in the hospital.

That simple test might have saved her life, and the lives of many other babies. It's not normally given, but can be requested! Kristine is on a mission to educate all mothers and mothers to be about CHD and this simple test. This week is CHD awareness week and I hope you will take a few moments to read her story and think about requesting a pulse ox test on your baby to be. I know that when (please God) I have my next baby I will be requesting one. It's simple and easy and can save lives.

As a mother I look at my child and I see every child. Every child hurt or orphaned in Haiti is my child. Max playing and dancing is Cora...he is blessed with a life she was not to have.

If you believe everything happens for a reason then we must believe that Cora was meant to live five glorious days so that many other babies could live long healthy lives. Cora had something very, very special. Her parents Kristine and Ben.

My life is changed. I am now aware. I am certain to have that test done on any and all future babies, as will all my friends.

I hope you will too.

You can read her story here: Cora's Story


Kristine said...

This is so beautiful. I see Cora in every baby and child. Including sweet little Max. Thank you for all the kind and sweet words. xoxo

Salt said...

Thank you so much for writing this post. CHD was something that I was completely unaware of until now. You have no idea how many parents you might have just helped by writing this. I will definitely make sure they do this test whenever the time comes that I am a mom.

My heart goes out to Kristine. I'm so sorry for her loss and the loss of all people that lost a child this way.

Anonymous said...

Considering heart problems run very rampant in my dad's side of the family this is something I will seriously need to test my children for. I've never heard of it, and I'm glad you're making people aware.
It would be awful to go through something like this when it is so easily prevented.
I'm sorry for your loss Kristine. That is certainly a tragedy no one should have to go through.

CaraBee said...

I had no idea. I would never have thought to ask and neither my on/gyn nor my daughter's ped suggested it. What a horrifying experience. My heart goes out to her. I will definitely tell friends who are having babies!

Disease Awareness for kids said...

Congenital Heart Disease is the number one birth defect in America. CHD kills more children each year than all childhood cancers combined, yet research dollars for CHD are significantly lower. Even the American Heart Association, an organization dedicated to funding research for heart disease, only allows a tiny fraction of each dollar raised for Congenital Heart Disease research.

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