I wanted to start a "project" to educate people on what congenital diaphragmatic hernia truly has come to mean to so many. My daughter is not at all shy about her scars. She knows that without them she would not be here today. I make an effort to kiss her scars and tell her how beautiful she is to me. The older she gets the more and more she understands that not many people have vivid scars like her. She is Blessed to be alive!
I hope that you will all join me in getting the word. Many times CDH is spoken in the cdh community and we all know the definition. However our friends and family rarely know that cdh is as serious and life threatening unless they walked the road along side of us. We need to educate the outside world.
Before I was pregnant with Ava I had never even heard the words... congenital diaphragmatic hernia. I had heard of "a hernia" in fact my Dad had one for years. It bothered him but wasn't that big of an issue. When the doctor explained at out 19 week ultrasound that this is what our unborn daughter had I was thrown off guard and wanted to protest. My other two daughters were born healthy and it just couldn't be. The more he kept talking the more I knew this was very serious. They offered termination and then it hit me... she was most likely going to die after or even before birth. I searched the internet with some VERY scary facts. I found no one that gave me a good outcome. I couldn't find any survivors. Surely there was someone out there? My husband urged me to stop looking online, instead I looked at top CDH hospitals. We found one that fit our needs and with much prayer and guidance settled on it. This hospital gave us what we so desperately needed... HOPE.
So when I started Raising Healthy Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Children, three years ago I knew I had to connect people and show them not only were there survivors out there but that most thrive after their long difficult births. Yes many have life issues such as feeding difficulties resulting in low weight, asthma, bowel obstructions, reherniation, reflux, scoliosis and many other things but they are still kids with LOTS of life to live!
Will you join us today?
What do I think about when I see my daughter's CDH scars?
I have a feeling of complete gratefulness that she is here with us today. I feel very blessed! It shows how hard it must have been for her. It reminds me never take life for granted, that we are never assured tomorrow. I know that her scars are just part of who she is... a fighter in all sense of the word. I am SO proud to be her Mom!
A diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the diaphragm allowing part or sometimes all of the organs from the belly (stomach, spleen, liver and intestines) to go up into the chest cavity, compromising the heart and lungs.
I really appreciate all the CDHers out there. The Moms and Dads... you make it possible for the page to be a helpful to other parents. I started with only a few cdh friends and now it has exploded and we are in all parts of the world. Thank you so much for making the page and blog possible!
~Terri Helmick Founder and Creator of Raising Healthy Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Children