Abreail Foreman, Erica Dudenhoeffer and Karla Sandoval-Barba

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Abreail Foreman is the mother to Jeffery who was born July 21, 2006 with complex congenital heart defects (or CHDs). His diagnosis was double inlet left ventricle. Abreail did not know prior to his birth that he had CHDs.

Jeffery had his first open-heart surgery at five days of age and another at two months. He has had a balloon stent and g-tube places as well. After Jeffery’s second open-heart surgery, he aspirated on his milk, which caused him to be put on ECMO for a few days.

Jeffery was on several daily medications and went through a series of complications. On June 15, 2007, Jeffery transitioned to his heavenly home.

After the death of her son, Abreail battled isolation, depression, suicide, anger and more. In 2012, Abreail became an advocate for CHD awareness in honor of her son and for his memory to live on. She started a nonprofit organization called “Jumping for Jeffryr” and “Healing Hearts.” She is also involved in the Central Arkansas Heart Walk in her city. Jeffrery has changed Abreail’s life in so many ways, especially now.

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Erica Dudenhoeffer is a wife and mother of three children. Her second child, Kate, was born June 26, 2012. She had been diagnosed in utero with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and an intact atrial septum. Kate has had four open-heart surgeries, including the Norwood and Glenn procedures. Her heart journey has been very rough. She needed to be placed on ECMO three times within her first three months of life, due to complications after her Norwood procedure, a leaky tricuspid valve, cardiac arrest and poor oxygen saturations. Since her fourth heart surgery in April 2013, she has done remarkably well. She has surpassed all expectations and continues to make amazing progress as she awaits her Fontan surgery.

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Karla Sandoval-Barba is the mother of a son, Isaac Barba, who was born with a critical congenital heart defect. Isaac was born with tricuspid atresia, transposition of the great arteries, hypoplastic right heart syndrome, ventricular septal defect and atrial septal defect, and a right aortic arch.

Isaac’s condition required surgery in three stages: The Damus-Kaye Stansel, the Glenn, and the Fontan.  Isaac had a very complicated course after the first surgery.  He had been making very poor progress for about a week and half after the first procedure.  Isaac was taken into the cath lab to determine the cause of his episodes, and was immediately rushed back into the operating room. During that operation Isaac underwent three revisions.  Each time he was placed on the cardiac bypass machine then taken off only to have to go again.

Isaac returned to the CTICU on ECMO.  We were not given a choice.  Isaac’s heart had undergone so much trauma from the revisions, we were told that it needed to “rest.”

Links Mentioned in our Show:

FAQs About ECMO in the NICU

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