Thursday, February 14, 2013

Picture of the Week - 2/14/2013

Happy Valentine's Day!
I have to admit that I'm not big on Valentine's Day.  I'm not anxiously awaiting the florist with a delivery of roses.  I don't expect chocolates when I get home.  And while I would love a nice quiet dinner with my love, it's just not in the cards mid-week during an active sports season when you have 4 kids.  So I will wish you all (and those I see in person) a Happy Valentine's Day (and I will mean it), but I certainly don't need the calendar to tell the people I love that they are special to me!
One nice thing about a holiday that celebrates the heart is that it creates the perfect backdrop for bringing attention to Congenital Heart Defects.  Each year I try, in smallish ways, to spread the word about CHDs.  They are more common than you think and I can nearly guarantee that you know someone who has been touched in some way by a child (not counting my Quinn) with a heart defect.  So today, as I do every year, I ask that you read the following and learn a little bit about CHDs.  Take just a minute to think about those who have been impacted and say a prayer for all the precious little souls lost to a heart defect. 
Here's a new picture of Beckett.  He's in that awesome phase where he really hams it up every time he sees the camera.  That child is so very entertaining!!!  I took this prior to trying to extract him from the new end table he had crawled into.  (I'll share pictures of our new furniture as soon as we get a new rug for in there!  I think I have one picked out but we haven't had a chance to go buy it yet.)
Have a great weekend!
February 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week
Congenital Heart Disease is considered to be the most common birth defect, and is a leading cause of birth-defect related deaths worldwide.
Despite the fact that CHD affects approximately 1.8 million families in the U.S., a relatively small amount of funding is currently available for parent/patient educational services, research, and support.
By sharing our experiences and providing information, we hope to raise public awareness about conditions that affect approximately 40,000 babies each year in the United States alone.
It is our sincere hope that efforts to educate the public will result in improved early diagnosis, additional funding for support and educational services, scientific research, and access to quality of care for our children and adults
Congenital Heart Defect Fact Sheet
  • Sometime during early pregnancy, a baby's heart may not form properly, resulting in structural abnormalities known as Congenital Heart Defects. In many cases the cause is unknown.
  • It is estimated that 40,000 babies with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) are born in the United States each year.
  • Although some babies will be diagnosed at birth, newborns are not routinely screened for CHD. The consequences of a late diagnosis can have serious, lifelong implications.**
  • CHD is the most frequently occurring birth defect, and is the leading cause of birth-defect related deaths. Nearly 1,800 infants with CHD die each year as a result of congenital heart defects
  • Some CHDs may require visits to a Pediatric Cardiologist. Others can be treated with medications or repaired with surgery and/or procedures. Complex defects may require several surgeries and are never really "cured".
  • The majority of patients born with congenital heart defects are now adults****, yet many adults with CHD are not receiving adequate ongoing care from trained specialists.**
**Report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Working Group on Research in Adult Congenital Heart Disease, 2006
***Congenital Heart Surgeons Society
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Defects
Parents should be alert to the following symptoms in infancy:
  • Tires easily during feeding (i.e. falls asleep before feeding finishes
  • Sweating around the head, especially during feeding
  • Fast breathing when at rest or sleeping
  • Pale or bluish skin color
  • Poor weight gain
  • Sleeps a lot - not playful or curious for any length of time
  • Puffy face, hands, and/or feet
  • Often irritable, difficult to console

Some children with CHDs may not have any symptoms until later in childhood. Things to look for include:
  • Gets out of breath during play
  • Difficulty "keeping up" with playmates
  • Tires easily/sleeps a lot
  • Change in color during active play or sports (looks pale or has a bluish tint around mouth and nose)
  • Frequent colds and respiratory illnesses
  • Slow growth and weight gain/poor appetite
  • Complains of chest pain and/or heart pounding
If your child has two or more of these symptoms, talk to your pediatrician about a referral to a Pediatric Cardiologist.
For more information, visit the Congenital Heart Information Network.

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