You Don’t Prepare for Newborn Heart Surgery

When Allison had her second child, she was expecting a normal, healthy baby. What she got was a miracle. The big day had come and Allison and her husband, Matt, traveled to a local hospital for her planned C-Section, eager to meet their new child.

“We were so excited because we had planned everything ahead of time, and the only surprise we were expecting was the gender,” Allison says. “That’s when God stepped in and said, “You can’t plan everything.”

“I Knew Something Was Really Wrong”

Evan arrived a seemingly healthy baby boy — but within a few hours, Allison and Matt realized something wasn’t right.

“Matt went to watch the nurses give Evan a bath, and he came back and said, “I don’t want to worry you, but his oxygen levels aren’t great,” Allison recalls. “He came back a second time and said a cardiologist was looking at Evan. The third time he came back, two doctors were with him. That’s when I knew something was really wrong.”

Evan was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect known as transposition of the great arteries. The hospital they had chosen for his birth wasn’t equipped to treat the defect, so Evan was transferred to CHRISTUS Children’s.

“They actually came and transported Evan themselves, which I thought was incredible,” Allison says. “The transporters came into the room, and I immediately felt a sense of safety. They knew what they were doing and that everything was under control.”

Coming to CHRISTUS Children’s

When Allison and Matt arrived at CHRISTUS Children’s, they immediately noticed a difference. “I walked in the door, and they said, “You must be Evan’s mom. Let’s get you a wheelchair,” Allison says. They anticipated our every need. They even let us sleep in the intensive care unit where Evan was. They got us shampoo, towels, pillows, and blankets. The entire staff treated us like we were family.”

Two days after Evan was born, Allison and Matt met with the surgeons who would be operating on Evan the following morning. They explained everything and answered all the questions. Allison and Matt also met with child life specialists at the Hospital, who shared information about developmental expectations and what life after surgery would be like. The next day, Allison watched in tears as her three-day-old boy entered the operating room. Then she waited.

“I felt confident because I had seen specifically what would happen during the surgery,” Allison says. As a mother, that makes you feel good knowing – if your child is going to have surgery – you are getting the best doctors and the best care possible.”

Four hours later, Evan’s heart was fixed. Today, Evan is a healthy, happy four-year-old. He has nothing to show for his dramatic first week of life, except a “cool” scar on his chest. Last spring, Evan’s cardiologist cleared him for all activities, and by the fall, Evan was running in San Antonio’s annual ING Kids Rock one-mile marathon.

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Our specialists are committed to serving and providing the best possible care – body, mind, and spirit - for our children and their families. We believe CHRISTUS Children’s is the best place for every child in need of medical care and we prove that every day, through every nurse, every child life specialist, every staff member. One of the best ways to highlight this care is to share incredible stories from our patients and their family members. It’s a way you can help us continue to bring hope and healing to inspire others. If you’re a current or former patient, a loved one, a caregiver, or friend, we would love to hear about your healing journey at CHRISTUS Children’s.

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