Product of the Week: It's Slighty Strange but oh so IMPORTANT
I'm veering off the path of my usual beauty/hair/make up products this week in honor of CHD awareness week (Feb. 7th - 14th).
My daughter Quinn was born in June 2010 with a Congenital Heart Defect called Double Outlet Right Ventricle with Pulmonary Stenosis and Ventricular Septal Defect, among other things. She was successfully repaired with back-to-back open heart surgeries this past fall (Sept. 27th & Oct. 22nd). She still faces at least one more surgery in her lifetime to repair a bad pulmonary valve but she is a CHD SURVIVOR and our little hero.
By the Grace of God, her CHD was diagnosed in utero at 23 weeks which gave us precious time to research - learn more about her condition, find the best hospital and ultimately secure the best doctors and surgeons for her care. It also gave us time to adjust to what we would face early in her little life --- although nothing can really prepare you for knowing your daughter will undergo life-saving surgery.
However, through "heart networking" as I call it, I have come across so many stories of people who never knew their child had such a defect. Some of them were discovered in the hospital and some were not discovered until days or weeks later when their child started experiencing problems. Those latter children lost the precious gift of time - and some tragically lost their lives.
So my "Product of the Week" is a simple, life-saving device called a Pulse Oximetry machine. It is a simple machine that has a probe attached to the end which you place on an infant's toe to measure their oxygen saturations. If a child measures lower than 93 (so I am told), then it can be an indication for poor heart function. It is painless and literally takes just a minute to measure.
Unfortunately, not all hospitals make this a mandatory part of the newborn screening process. I am on the "Pulse Ox" train - meaning, I believe EVERY SINGLE BABY BORN should be screened in the hospital right after birth, during the APGAR tests. If you are pregnant or know someone who is, please, please, please, share thsi information and ask for this simple screen if your hospital does not mandate it. It could save a life. Please also check out this advocacy link for mandatory screening. (And goodness, I know pregnant mommies have so much to worry about, so I don't want to raise unnecessary alarm - but the fact is, approximately 1 in 100 children born in the U.S. have some type of CHD. Y'all, that's not a small number.)
We are actually proud owners of a pulse ox machine --- after making monthly "rental" payments for a couple of years, I tried to return it to the company this past December. Well, lo and behold, our monthly payments apparently exceeded the cost of the machine, so we now own it. If you need one, we got it : )
(And btw, your pediatrician's office should always have one on hand if you have any concerns at all about your child's oxygen levels )