My friendship with the Gandy family is a perfect example of the unique relationships that are forged within the heart community. We have never "met" face-to-face, in fact, there are almost 1,000 miles separating our two families...yet I call them "friends" as if we have known each other forever. And for that, I consider myself blessed.
I'm so excited to say to you all today....MEET MADISON!
On Dec. 6th, 2010, my husband and I went to the OB to find out if our second little miracle would be a boy or a girl! What a HUGE shock it was when we first heard the words, “We think something is wrong with your baby’s heart. We cannot see 4 chambers in her heart.” From that moment on, our world was forever changed.
After a week full of appointments, Madison was diagnosed prenatally with HLHS and Dextrocardia. We were given three options: termination, compassionate care, or a series of 3 surgeries that could allow her to live with half a heart. There was no question, we were going to give our little girl a chance at life!
Madison entered the world on May 2nd, 2011. We traveled to Texas Children’s in Houston Texas for her care. She was FULL of spunk right from the get go. The running joke was that she wanted the entire hospital to know that her lungs worked perfectly fine! Her heart did end up a bit more unique than expected. She was indeed single ventricle and had dextrocardia, but she also had pulmonary atresia and stenosis of the LPA. The dextrocardia was also a bit atypical in that her heart was not just on the wrong side, but was actually physically twisted. Her cardiac anatomy has some other “fun” qualities that make her heart extra special, but those are her main battles.
Madison just turned 2! What an amazing day as we celebrate her incredible life. She has survived 2 heart surgeries and 3 heart caths so far. We have more on the way with a heart transplant likely somewhere in her future (though we are hoping very far in her future!).
When I was pregnant I prayed above all else that she would be happy, feel loved and feel safe. I was so afraid with her journey her life would just be filled with difficulty. Though it has its challenges, I can honestly say that she is the happiest child I have ever been around! She is so full of spunk and life. She is sassy to the core! She goes non-stop and she is such a fighter. She ADORES her big brother Jack, who equally ADORES her. She is just absolutely thriving. I could not be more proud to be a heart mom to such an amazing warrior!
Our family is so grateful to get to take part in Books for Charley. I first “met” Kristen and Charlotte when I was expecting Madison. Between Kristen’s writing and Charlotte's incredible beauty and eyes (as seen in every single picture!), I was in love, inspired and given so much hope. My heart broke when I learned that Charlotte had earned her wings. To this day, Charley and her family hold an incredibly special place in my heart. I cannot wait to collect books to honor this special little girl!
All of the books collected by Madison's family will be donated to Texas Children's Hospital cardiac floors. They will make their way to the CVICU, step-down units, cardiac rooms and to the cardiology clinic where heart kiddos are seen for regular appointments. Learn more about our adorable friend, Madison, by visiting her Caring Bridge site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/gandyfamily. You can also find her on the Project RedButt page over at charleysheart.com She was one of our first "official" monkey recipients!
Thank you, Gandy family for being such huge supporters of our family and of Charley's Heart. Happy book collecting and I can't wait to see what you come up with for TCH.