Dezi Hamann Iowa
Dezi exudes strength and joy. As his mom, and as a heart mom, I owe it to him to do everything I can to help sustain the progress that was made by three pioneers with heart babies.
It was April 21, 2013 that our baby was diagnosed with a CHD and that moment feels like it was a lifetime ago. Dezi underwent open heart surgery on November 14th, 2013 at 6.5 months old. Up to that time, my biggest fear was handing him over to the nurse and putting my faith into his heart team and our higher power. When that moment actually came, it was the most incredible feeling of relief as I could feel the weight lifting off my shoulders. The surgeon later told me that based on his tests, there was no medical explanation for the fact that his oxygen levels remained at 100%. I assured him that not all things required a medical explanation. He also stayed on his little growth curve at the 4th percentile.
Dezi flew through recovery with flying colors. He did suffer a few minor complications, but nothing that kept him from being discharged to home in a record 4 days. It was 6 days after surgery that he did a photo shoot with the American Heart Association. At 8 days post-op, he met his Heart Heroes, Fred Hoiberg and Billy Fennelly and they did some pictures together and Dezi got an autographed basketball. I like to think of him as the lucky charm that helped the ISU basketball team do so well this season.
Since then, we've just been working on playing catch-up. Dezi spent a lot of his first 6.5 months going easy and napping frequently. It's normal for babies with medical issues to have developmental delays. I expected them to be physical, but mostly it has been verbal. He's incredibly mobile and we are just waiting for him to take his first unassisted step at any moment. He's a wild man that loves to climb on and around anything, and chase our kitten. He's perfected his "dribble" and can now slam dunk his basketball on his mini hoop set. And best of all, he loved to laugh. He isn't very vocal yet, but we're working on it, and I know the day that we miss his quiet will be here before we know it.
One of the best parts of the last year has been to meet members of our community and share his story. We had no idea how common CHD's were, or how limited the funding for research and development was. As little as 50 years ago, these babies were given a death sentence with their diagnosis. We have learned that Vivien Thomas, Helen Tossig, and Alfred Blalock (a black man with no formal education, a deaf woman, and a white man in the 50's), defied obstacles and started "fixing" these blue babies. A woman who was raised to never let anything stop her from her life's goal decided that she wanted to do something about this ignored population, and she recruited the help of two men who listened to her pleas. While I don't have the ability to be a Helen Tossig, I can aspire to be the type of woman she was in being the change that she wanted to see in the world around her.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. Please, feel free to share his picture, share his story. If you can, join a heart walk, donate some money, help with a fundraiser. It's the little things that snowball and make great things happen. Not all heart families are as lucky as we have been. Our hero was able to be "fixed". Maybe 50 years from now, all heart babies will have that same opportunity.