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Dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries: Cai Retiza’s story

on March 1, 2023 by mom Laurel Retiza

At 39 weeks gestation, Cai was delivered normally at 9:31 a.m. on April 15, 2021. Everything seemed to be going smoothly at first, but on the fourth day of his life, the nurses noticed that he was turning blue. When they swiftly checked his oxygen, they realized something wasn't right with him. Another hospital was recommended to us so that a specialist could examine him there. The cardiologist did a 2D echo on Cai when he first arrived, at which point he informed us of the severity of Cai's condition and the fact that he has a cardiac condition termed Dextro-Transposition of the Great Arteries. He suggested we go to Manila because heart surgeries are only available there, and he told us that we had to prepare a large amount of money for the open heart surgery as soon as possible because that's the only way he could survive and live a happy and long life. That time, we were already very desperate to bring him to Manila and started to create a fund-raising campaign for him. We found foundations that could help us. We emailed the Philippine Air Force to help us with the transportation going to Manila. We sent letters to the politicians asking for help with the hospital bills. We did everything we could to save our dearest son.

On April 23, 2021, when we arrived in Manila, we were directly brought to the National Children's Hospital for the balloon septostomy, and we were released the day after. On April 26, 2021, we were admitted to the Philippine General Hospital. April 27, 2021, was the big day for Cai. That was the day of his open heart surgery, and I was told that I had to take him inside the OR until he was asleep. The surgery took 8 hours, and we were just inside our room praying that everything would go well. We kept our hopes and faiths up, and we trusted in God's will. After his operation, the doctors called us and told us that everything was fine; Cai was already in the recovery room, and we could see him after an hour. We were so happy because God truly heard our prayers. When we saw him, our tears were falling because there was so much joy in our hearts. Two days after the surgery, Cai had already been transferred to our room, and we were able to be with him all the time. But little did we know that another problem was coming. His diaphragm was not in good condition because of the surgery, so the doctors decided to fix it and perform another operation.

Sadly, a week later, we had to be moved to another hospital due to a fire in the one we were in. After that, Cai began to experience some infections; he kept getting pneumonia, and eventually his lungs collapsed. Due to his inability to breathe on his own, the medical staff was unable to gradually wean him off the ventilator. After a series of X-rays, his lungs were still not clear, and that was when the doctors decided to give Cai a tracheostomy. We were so down at that time, but he showed us that he is a fighter. On June 2, 2021, Cai had his tracheostomy placed. Everything improved after having it, and Cai's health significantly improved. It was such a blessing for us when he was able to breathe without the help of the ventilator. After two months of being in the hospital, we were sent home on July 5, 2021.

Looking back, I can see that our journey was not easy. God really tested us, but we were able to overcome it with His help and the help of community. Cai is now very bubbly and healthy, and he brings us so much joy. He will turn two on April 15, 2023, and will be able to have his tracheostomy removed soon. Words cannot express how happy we are right now. Conquering CHD is not easy, but with God's help, anything is possible.


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