Susan and Andy Smithson went in for their 20-week ultrasound with their whole family. It was time to find out the gender of their soon-to-be-born baby. They were elated to find out it was a boy! Unexpectedly, they were also asked to come back for another scan to discuss something about the baby’s heart. It was later discovered that their baby boy, Drew, had a hole in his heart. “We were devastated,” Susan said. Their devastation was doubled when at a high-risk OB doctor’s visit. They found out Drew’s heart had much more than just a single hole. He was diagnosed with a complex set of congenital heart defects termed Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF).
TOF is a combination of four heart defects that can only be repaired through open heart surgery. Susan said, “We left that appointment in a daze and my normal, perfect pregnancy was long gone. It now consisted of weekly appointments, ultrasounds, Vanderbilt cardiologists, high risk maternal fetal doctors, fetal echocardiograms and lab work, just to name a few!”
“This heart journey has been hard to say the least, but we wouldn’t trade it or our heart warrior Drew for anything. He has taught us so much about strength and perseverance.”
Drew was born on April 23, 2014 and was rushed off to the NICU minutes after. His parents treasured those first few minutes with him. At two days old, Drew had his first open heart surgery. This was to allow for proper blood flow to his body so that he could grow big enough for his full repair. “We handed over our perfect, 7lbs 8oz baby boy to a heart surgeon.” 8 days later Drew got to go home for the first time where he thrived until it was time for his full repair.
October 14, 2014 Drew had his second open heart surgery and after only five days the Smithsons were home from the hospital. “This heart journey has been hard to say the least, but we wouldn’t trade it or our heart warrior Drew for anything. He has taught us so much about strength and perseverance.” Drew is thriving and is now four years old.
“It is so important to continue to raise money for research to find a cure for congenital heart defects. We will continue to raise awareness and ask for support so that other children will never have to experience these trials in life.”
“It is so important to continue to raise research money to find a cure for CHD. We will continue to raise awareness. We ask for support so that other children will never have to experience these trials in life,” Susan said. There is no cure for congenital heart disease. There is only the hope that research will bring about new: findings, technology and solutions for the 1 in 100 children born with CHD. Help us in our fight to defeat CHD and donate today!