Heather Traughber - I am a Heart Mom
Heather Traughber lives in Mandeville, Louisiana.
I became a heart mom the day my daughter, Aubrey, was born in May 2014. She has a congenital heart defect, known as Tetralogy of Fallot. That day forever changed my life. She is a heart baby but I am her heart mom. I am a different kind of mom because of her.
Most people don’t know the emotions that heart parents go through. We worry ALL of the time. We worry when they’re sick, as an illness is a potential threat. Heart moms are germophobes for a reason!
Everything is worse with a heart defect. With a weakened immune system, it takes heart babies longer to recover and get better. This is more time and more things to worry about. And depending on the severity of the illness, it can even be life-threatening. A common cold to one mom is a big event in our household.
A runny nose isn’t something minor. It is something that I worry about as her mom. I worry that something as simple as a cold will stop her from a needed procedure. Heart babies need to be healthy prior to any procedure and I need to help keep her healthy.
I worry when my heart baby is breathing heavier than others. I worry when her next surgery will be. I worry whether or not her CHD will limit her in what she can do. I worry that my child won’t be able to experience the most out of life. And I worry most about time, not having enough time with my child.
Aubrey is 4 now and as she gets older, the scar is more prevalent to her and the questions have started. I am doing my best as her heart mom to help her understand her diagnosis. I tell her that the scar saved her life and to always be proud of it and show it off. It’s there to remind her that her life was saved by a team of wonderful people who fixed her tiny little heart.
And as time goes on, the medical world will advance. I want research to help my heart baby. My hope is that she’ll only have to have one more surgery. I hope that there will be leaps and bounds of advances and understanding of CHD for Aubrey but for other heart babies and moms as well.
No day is guaranteed, so we cherish each day and make the most of it. I love my heart baby. As her heart mom, I will do all that I can to keep her healthy and happy.