Hello! I am a wife to hubby Vince and mommy of beautiful twin girls, Olivia and Isabella. Our journey with CHD began 7 days after the girls were born back on March 23rd, 2011. We were discharged from the hospital with an appointment to follow up with a cardiologist, as they heard a “murmur” in both girls. Upon doing an echo on Isabella, the cardiologist rushed us to SickKids where we spent many agonizing hours waiting for answers, though we knew something was very wrong with our baby girl. Isabella was diagnosed the following day with Right Atrial Isomerism and would require a series of 3 surgeries over the next few years in order to survive. Hearing those words, I have never been so utterly terrified in my life. We were first time parents of twins and now one of them had a rare and complex congenital heart defect. We felt helpless.

We were told that Isabella may not need the first of the 3 surgeries, but would be closely monitored each week. During one of our routine clinic visits, Isabella was admitted due to low oxygen saturations. Over the next few days her saturations continued to drop, regardless of the help of oxygen. She was quickly taken down to CCU where she went into cardiac arrest, was put onto ECMO and was scheduled for an emergency BT shunt the next morning. Our baby girl was so incredibly sick and weak we didn’t know whether or not she was going to make it through the surgery. Keeping her twin sister close to us that day we sat, surrounded by family, waiting for her to come out.

Out she came and it was from that moment on we knew that Isabella was our miracle baby. Since that day, she has defied all odds and continues to push forward and overcome all obstacles that come her way. Six months after that first surgery she had her second, her Glenn and last year she had her third and final surgery, her Fontan. Since that last surgery we have seen such a change in Isabella. She has so much more energy now and our usual picky eater, now eats just as well as her sister! She swims, dances, tells knock knock jokes and just doesn’t stop moving! She is full of laughter and life. Seeing the bond between my two girls melts my heart, as I know that they have been there for each other since day one. I know Isabella’s heart journey is far from over but at 4 years old she is a fighter! She is my inspiration and motivation to raise awareness of CHDs and to be the best mommy I can be to my beautiful girls❤️

“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it” Unknown.

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