Submitted by Kelleyn Rothaermel:
I remember the day as if it were yesterday, but over three years have passed since that day. My husband, our middle child, and I were going in to find out the sex of our third child. I was so excited! I was hoping for a girl since we had two boys. The ultrasound began as any ultrasound, and not too long after we found out we were adding another boy to our family. I was in shock because I had never pictured myself being a mother of not just one boy, let alone three boys. The ultrasound continued, but it seemed to be taking longer than the ultrasounds of my other two. The perinatologist was called in, and at first I didn’t think much of it because I was 35 and knew that I was at higher risk. Eventually, I asked the doctor if something was wrong and he said, ” Yes, why don’t you get dressed and meet me in the room next door.” I almost fainted as I got off the table.
He told us that our child had a heart condition called “Tetrology of Fallot”. We had no idea what this was. He explained to us that our son not only had a hole in his heart, but that his pulmonary valve and aorta were not attached. He also wasn’t even sure if our son had a pulmonary valve. Our heads began to swim as if we were dizzy. What would this mean? Would he die? He told us that he could die. That he would need surgeries. That it was possible that there could be genetic defects such as Down Syndrome or Di George since this condition often accompanies this condition. Then he said (as if no big deal) that we could abort him. In our state we had 4 weeks left to choose to terminate the pregnancy. We were shocked because this was something we could never do, but we thought it must be pretty bad if they are telling us that we can abort him. The next 20 weeks were filled with many doctors visits and ultrasounds.
Finally on February 16, 2007 our son Roman was born via c-section. We were lucky because he had a pulmonary valve; therefore, he didn’t require immediate surgery to place a shunt connecting his heart to his lungs. He spent 12 days in the NICU because he had feeding issues due to his heart condition. Then we were sent home and were told to keep a careful watch over him. No visitors and no leaving the house except for doctors appointments. We didn’t mind though because we were willing to do whatever it took to keep this baby alive. Each week we were evaluated to see how his heart was doing. They wanted him to be about 12 pounds before surgery. It was determined that he would need surgery around 3 months. Then a week before his scheduled surgery he went into cardiac failure. He was rushed to the local children’s hospital where they stabilized him and prepared him for surgery.
On May 25, 2007, Roman was reborn again and given a second chance at life. He brings me so much joy! I can’t see my life without him. He has brought not only our family closer together, but brought us closer to the Lord. We no longer take the little things for granted for we know each day is a gift. Being his mother has made me a better mother by molding me into a more compassionate person. I never knew my heart could love so deeply. Today he is a happy and thriving 3 1/2 year old. He does everything that any other three-year-old does. He might never be able to play football or ride a roller coaster, and will definitely need more surgeries in the future, but we wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.