On February 2011 my wife and I received the wonderful news that we would welcome our third child into this world. We were very excited and started planning for his arrival. We moved into a bigger home, we prepared his room and mentally prepared our then younger son to be a big brother.
On May 2011 my wife attended an appointment for an ultrasound in which everything was going smoothly, the technician and my wife were chit chatting and smiling during the visit when suddenly the technician got real quiet and serious. The tech left the room and came back with a doctor and both were looking very intently at the screen. The tech and doctor finished the ultrasound and asked my wife to join them in an office. The doctor started, “First, I want you to know it is nothing you did or did not do, it is not your fault….” He proceeded to tell my wife there was a problem with the baby’s heart, he suffered from what they suspected to be a Congenital Heart Defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, but needed to do more tests to confirm. From the hospital, my wife phoned me, to come over, but I could not quite understand what was wrong.
After I arrived, we were brought into a small conference room and the doctor explained the whole situation. The next few months were torture as my wife went through several tests to see if there was anything else wrong with the baby including Down’s syndrome, etc. Those tests came back negative, but waiting for and receiving those calls from the labs and doctors was horrible.
After months of worry, our son Gael Adrian Solano was born on October 17, 2011 via caesarean section and the diagnosis of the Congenital Heart Defect Tetralogy of Fallot was completely confirmed. He was rushed to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego which thankfully was basically next door to where my wife gave birth. He spent his first 10 days of life in NICU and it was determined that he could wait at least 6 months before surgery. The months after his birth and before surgery were full of doctors’ appointments and nurse house visits.
On the night before the surgery, our family got together for an emotional night of prayer. We were very frightened of what was to come. At almost 6 months of age, on April 3, 2012 Gael had open-heart surgery. The whole family showed up at the hospital to show their support which lifted our spirits quite a bit. The 5 hour surgery itself went well, however; complications ensued and it was decided to keep Gail under a medically indused coma while they get everything under control. AFter a few days, they were able to wake Gael. We were so happy the day he was finally allowed to go home.
Today, although he is not 100% and is scheduled to have a small procedure on March 2013 and a possible stent placement procedure on October 2013, Gael is otherwise thriving, growing slowly but surely, is doing all the cute baby things, walking, loving his older brothers (Diego and Angel) and generally being a silly, smiley, happy baby.
What is amazing to my wife and I is the fact that he does not allow his condition to define him or limit what he can do. As you can see from the photo below, a few days after he was allowed to awake from the medically induced coma, he was all smiles. If that had been me I would be in tears (and of course I happen to be a 5’11 220 lbs. man). To say Gael came to change our lives would be an understatement. Gael came and turned our lives upside down and sideways but in a good way. He has reminded us what is Important in life and showed us, through example, what bravery really means. He is after all, as my wife calls him, “Nuestro Guerrero, “ our little warrior.
I want to thank The Children’s Heart Foundation’s efforts in pushing forward to help fund research which is designed to find better and more effective ways to help children like my son and give them an opportunity to grow up and live a full and happy life.