After my article about Violet was published in Parade this summer, I received so many amazing letters from parents of CCHD children and from several adult CCHD survivors. I read and saved every email (yes, even if I didn’t have time to respond to you personally) because it meant so much to have these total strangers reaching out to say “I’ve been where you are.”
Then I got an email from Annie Kersch, who was writing to say “I’m there, right now.” And also: “How can we make sure this stops happening?” Because her daughter Ari also did not receive a pulse ox test at birth — which meant she became dangerously and horrifically ill before her heart defect was discovered. Annie is committed to raising awareness about the importance of pulse oximetry screening (as well as improving prenatal detection of congenital heart defects), so I knew I had to tell her story. I’m so pleased that this piece is now live on the new (and very cool!) Yahoo Parenting.
This pulse ox test problem is so incredibly fixable — it’s a noninvasive, affordable and easy to perform test that is performed on newborns in most states. (Utah is the latest to join the list.) But there are still at least ten states that have yet to pass laws requiring the test — and even when testing is mandatory, enforcement can be a problem (especially with home births).
So, please check out Annie and Ari’s story and thank you for sharing and raising awareness. No baby should face the kind of trauma that our brave baby girls had to experience. We may still be a long way off from understanding how to prevent heart defects, but we can do this.