Hello my name is Heather Arbeau and I’m a proud mother of two boys who are 18mths apart. For the most part I’m a stay at home mom but for a few hours a week I get out of the house to work part-time.
We found out about our 2nd son Reid’s CHD at the 20 week anatomy scan. It was actually not my OB who caught it, but the intern who noticed something was wrong. I was sent to Credit Valley for a more detailed scan, and that was when we were informed our son would be born with a CHD. A few weeks later we met with more doctors at Mount Sinai and Sick Kids, where our son was officially diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). It was a long and stressful day but we knew as long as I was carrying him he was safe and it wasn’t until he took his first breath that the battle against CHD would begin. At that time we also learned my brother’s wife had that same CHD, and knowing this gave us hope. It was a stressful pregnancy that made me dig deep to find something positive. My mother had just passed away, I had severe morning sickness and we were down to Mount Sinai and Sick Kids every other week for routine scans, and monitoring that took the better part of the day. My positive was that we knew about his CHD and we could plan in advance for his medical care, and for that I am thankful.
Reid was born in January 2011 kicking screaming and very determined. At just a few hours old he had his first procedure, and then at 7 days old had open-heart surgery to correct his TGA. Reid was very determined because he was out of the ICU 24hrs post-op and home 4 days after his open-heart surgery. Being home as a family with two boys under 2 years was amazing and challenging. Reid was a very demanding baby and my 18mth old was not really sure he wanted to share his mommy. The first 2 years came with some bumps in the road with illness and hospitalizations, but then we turned a corner. The last 2 years he’s been just as healthy as my heart healthy child. His 6mth check up turned to 1 year and now 2 years! We treat him like every other child; he plays sports, rides his bike and goes swimming. We let him set his limits; he knows what he can handle and when he needs a rest.
In my spare time since having Reid my husband and I have become advocates in spreading CHD awareness. We have participated and volunteered in events associated with CHD and most recently have held two of our own fundraising events for Cardiac Kids. We fundraise not just for Reid but for everyone we have met on our journey that has CHD. I am very passionate about spreading CHD awareness and sharing our journey that has turned out to be very positive.