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Julia, from her mom’s eyes

September 12, 2011. I can never forget this date. The day when I was broken into pieces...

 

This was the day when I knew my daughter has a heart defect. I can still fully remember when her doctor showed me the echo video and explained her heart condition. Julia was sitting on my lap, my hubby was on the other side of the table and I was just holding my tears listening to the doctor's explanations. That time, I could feel the most sensible heat of being outside my comfort zone.

 

The doctor told me that she has a heart defect known as ASD or Atrial Septal Defect. It was my first time to know about this defect and even if the doctor was explaining about how it goes, my mind was floating and I was very scared to lose my daughter--my life!

 

The doctor gave me 2 options. First is to let Julia undergo an open-heart surgery or just to wait for her to expire. It was blunt but very real! At that moment, I was speechless. I couldn't believe my daughter whom I love so much will just live in this world shortly. Tears kept falling from my eyes and my entire body was shaking uncontrollably. I was asking God, why this short? I still want to spend a lifetime with my princess!! 

 

I asked the doctor how much is the amount needed for the surgery and he told me an amount that I don't think I and my husband could find even if we work for 5 years!! He said that we must decide while Julia is still in the golden time. Meaning, while there are still no complications. 

 

Upon going home, Julia asked me, "Mama, are you crying? Is everything okay with me?  Am I gonna be dead?" ... Questions I just can hardly answer that moment. I just hugged her tight and whispered to her " don't worry baby, mama will find a way.. you'll be fine"..”

Bielle (as posted by her mom “Untold Stories of Baby Gabrielle”)

DENIAL

I was under the impression that this is just a bad dream and I would soon wake up and everything would be fine. I was under the impression that my daughter doesn’t need help, that she doesn’t need a surgery. I kept on thinking that she will be fine in a month or so. To me, she seemed fine, healthy just like any other baby. And then, I was hoping that there would be some kind of a miracle – just like in the movies – where everyone would wake up and the sickness would be gone. But deep in my heart, I know, it’s not like that. I know that a surgery is needed to fix my baby’s heart so she could live a normal life but I am just not open to the idea of her undergoing a surgery. Doctors will hurt her. Tubes will be inserted into her heart and who knows what other procedures are needed to be done to her. I would not want to see my baby crying and asking for help because she is in pain. I’d rather take the hurt. If only I can take the surgery instead of her. There should be other ways for her to get well. Anything but a surgery! This become an issue between me and my husband and sometimes would be the cause for an argument. My husband thought I don’t want our baby to get well and for her heart to be fixed. He thought I don’t want to see our baby live a happy and long life. He didn’t understand me. What mother doesn’t want to see her baby live a cheerful and normal life?!

 

ANGER

Why me? This is the usual question a person asks everytime he or she is faced with a difficult situation and I myself asked the same question. Why baby Gabrielle? I was mad at just about everything.

 

When I was pregnant, I made sure that I was eating the right food and drinking my supplements on time. I was home for almost 5 months. I was home and bored to death. I was careful. I did everything that my OB advised but why did my baby get this complication? I can’t help but envy other girls who were pregnant but were drinking and smoking but their baby came out just fine. So, why my baby? Why us?! Some pregnant women don’t even take supplements and don’t even drink milk but why are their babies VERY healthy when born. I was angry at the world, was mad at myself, my husband, my family, OB for reassuring me that my baby’s condition is fine. LIAR!” 

Maven (as posted in Facebook Stories, told by Maven’s mom)

"As the doctor performed the second 2D Echo, I could see in her face that Maven would need the surgery sooner than we'd hoped. We waited for her to finish her report and then she confirmed it. Maven's condition had progressed to a point where they'd need to operate as soon as possible.

The good news was that babies who have corrective surgery usually do well. More than 90% survive to adulthood and live active, healthy and productive lives. Without surgery, death usually occurs before age 20. The bad news came as they explained the procedure: They would have to stop his heart and connect Maven to a heart-lung machine – something that would cost around nearly 1 million Philippine Pesos, a little more than $20,000. There was no way we could afford it.

 

We brought Maven home, and I roamed around like a zombie. Thinking that providing Maven surgery he needed wasn’t a certainty left me blank. I’d catch myself crying while driving. 

One afternoon, I logged into my Facebook account. Between the two of us, my husband and I have about 2,000 friends. If these friends would contribute maybe just 100 pesos per person, we could reach our goal of one million pesos in a few months time. I created a Page, "Maven's Heart Fund," and started sending it to everyone we knew.”
 

Alexa (as posted by her mother when Maven just started in his journey as well)

"Hi everyone. Here I am again knocking on your hearts... Please help us raise funds for my daughter Mawiyah Alexa's heart surgery. I know it sounds impossible to raise up to 1m for her operation in just less than 1 month but we do not want to give up and lose hope. She is fighting, so should we. We will try our best to give her a fighting chance in life. I know that there is a possibility of losing her even after the operation but that doesn't mean we will never try... After hearing the news from her doctor, i thought i wouldn't be able to get into the nursery room without rolling a tear but when i went there i couldn't help myself but smile. Not a drop of tear. She is our strength. There are moments when I blame myself for her condition, of what I could've done wrong. But doing this will not do any good. No parent, no mother would want this to happen to her child. I love her, we love her so much that if only I could trade places with her, i would. So, please help us give baby alexa a chance in life. Kindly repost this on your walls, on your friends' walls, tell everybody you know, companies who are willing to share, or anybody you know who can help us raise fund. We welcome any help.... You can pm me if you have any questions or willing to shed a little amount... Thanks everyone."

Nate (as written by his Aunt)

Faith in God's will
 

People were praying for the success of his surgery. As Mc and Diane took Baby Nate to the Operating Room, they prayed for him to be strong and prayed for his healing. Diane watched her baby's confused eyes as the nurses took Baby Nate. It was the last look Baby Nate ever gave to her.

 

Baby Nate was just starting to grow up, he just learned how to stand on his crib alone while he held tightly to the edge of his crib to support his wobbly body. Baby Nate had just started teething. At 11 months old, Baby Nate could only say the words "Mama" or "Dada" and some baby sounds. But even though he couldn't speak well, Baby Nate was good at communicating how he felt. Though he couldn't say "I love you", Baby Nate loved his mommy and he showed it every time his eyes lit up when he sees her enter the room and beckons her to carry him. When he cries, he immediately stops if his mommy picks him up. For Diane, to feel Baby Nate's tiny hugs, it felt the world has hugged her and even before his heart surgery, he only wanted his mommy to carry him. Baby Nate loved his dad and how his dad loved his mom. Baby Nate cries every time his parents enter an argument, he doesn't want to see and hear his dad angry. He was very smart and he loved to learn the many tricks his parents taught him. From making silly sounds to making waving actions and other gestures, Baby Nate wanted to learn them all. Oh how his parents were so excited for his first birthday, the gifts that they were going to buy him, the toy push cart they were eyeing on, and the school they will put him into when he is healthy and strong, the good Christian values they already have started inculcating into him and how they longed for the day they can wake up and see their son smiling at them beside their bed healthy and strong.

THY WILL BE DONE

God had other plans for Baby Nate different from his parents. For one reason or another, 12:15 AM Six hours after the successful surgery, Nate suffered a cardiac arrest. The doctors tried to revive him for two hours but his heart did not respond. His parents, as much as they wanted to beg him to fight, talked to Baby Nate in their heads in silence, told their precious little one to let go if he is tired and to stop fighting and go to God. Baby Nate was declared expired 1:53 AM, May 12, 2011. He was 11 months old. Many people lost pieces of their hearts that day.

 

During Nate’s funeral, Mc and Diane talked about how they could possibly return back to community every help and blessing they ever got for Nate. With that, they decided to convert Nathan’s heart fund drive into a foundation where they will help as many sick children as they can with the same or similar heart condition as what their baby had.”
 

Little did they know, Nate saved Maven’s heart and Maven echoed their (his and Nate’s) stories. And thus, Let it ECHO was born…

Let it ECHO, Inc.

Cebu City, Philippines 6000

 

Contact us at admin@letitecho.org

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Providing hope. One heart at a time.

Let it ECHO, Inc.