Courtland's Journey


In September 2013 our oldest daughter, Courtney, was 9 months pregnant with her second baby, Courtland, when they received devistating news.  The left half of Courtland's heart had stopped working at somepoint during the pregnant, and the doctors were concerned with his size, and enlarged kidney.  Courtland was eventually diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).  HLHS is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of the heart is severly underdeveloped.  In Courtland's case, his had developed and worked at one point but for some reason stopped working, which meant it also stopped developing, while the right side continued to develope and work, thankfully. 

After countless doctor's appointments here in Roanoke we eventually ended up in Boston at Boston Children's Hospital.  On September 26th a team of doctors performed a fetal cardiac intervention in utero to open Courtland's aortic valve and reverse the blood flow in the aortic arch.  That procedure was successful and Courtney returned to the Roanoke area, where Courtland's progress was monitored every two weeks, and reported back to the doctors in Boston. 

On December 1st we headed back to Boston to prepare for Courtland's birth.  After a brief labor and delivery Courtland was born on December 9th.   Within hours of his birth he was taken to the cath-lab for his first procedure (re-dialation of his aortic valve).  His first open heart surgery was on December 13th.  Courtland's recovery from such a major surgery was really quite amazing.  Luckily, Courtney was able to hold him in time for Christmas, what a wonderful gift for her. : )  He continued to do well with his recovery through the last few weeks of 2013.  Courtland and Courtney returned to Roanoke the first week of January 2014, where his progress has been continually monitored every two weeks by both his pediatrician and pediatrician cardiologist, not to mention a nurse practicioner who checked in with them to monitor his weight, feeding schedule etc.  Courtland has continued to do well, continues to put on weight and grow.  Now here we are in May, 2014, and getting ready to head back to Boston for the second open heart surgery. 

As I mentioned in my original story (below), Courtland's medical condition has been emotionally and physically devastating to Courtney and our entire family. The travel expenses related to the multiple trips to/from Boston are, frankly, unbelievable. Courtney and her husband, Dylan, are a young married couple with an adorable 3 year old son (Zimmerman) who already struggle in this economy. No one can plan for something like this, and they simply do not have the financial means to pay for the mountain of expenses they will encounter.

I have reached out to several charitable foundations trying to arrange travel and living arrangements, however their help simply doesn't cover everything. That is why I ask for your help on their behalf. Money is needed to help with all of the expenses. If you are able and willing, or know anyone that can help, please donate money to help offset their expenses.

Please keep Courtney and her family in your prayers. And thank you so much for helping!

Carole

ORIGINAL STORY POSTED:
Our oldest daughter is 7 ½ months pregnant with her second baby. She and her husband have named their baby Courtland. In early September they were given some devastating news--the left side of Courtland's heart was not working and there is concern about the baby's size and enlarged kidney.

After numerous doctor appointments and tests performed in Roanoke, the doctors consulted with specialists at the University of Virginia Medical Center who then referred them to Boston Children's Hospital. Courtland was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). HLHS is a rare congenital heart defect in which the left ventricle of the heart is severely underdeveloped. Doctors in Boston determined that immediate surgery must be performed on Courtland while in utero.

On September 24th I drove our daughter 700 miles to Boston. On September 25th she endured roughly 12 hours of doctor appointments, consultations and tests. On September 26th a team of doctors performed a fetal cardiac intervention on Courtland and after a small issue during the procedure he and our daughter came through it well. We came back home to Virginia on September 28th and are in a watch and wait pattern. The Roanoke doctors are monitoring Courtland's heart and growth and reporting back to his Boston doctors.

Courtland will need a similar procedure performed immediately following his birth and is facing several additional surgeries during the first few weeks/months/years of his life. The procedures need to be performed in Boston. They will need to return to Boston in late November because the Boston doctors want them in the area a few weeks before her scheduled delivery date of December 9th in case she goes into early labor. They will need to be in Boston from roughly late November 2013 until mid-February 2014.

Courtland's medical condition has been emotionally and physically devastating to our daughter and our family and the looming financial crisis they are facing as a family is more than they can bear. They are a young married couple with an adorable 3 year old son. Like a lot of folks, they are struggling in this upside down economy and are now facing thousands of dollars in out of town living expenses and medical costs. While she is in Boston, her husband will remain in Roanoke, caring for their son and trying to maintain his job. Her husband plans to travel to/from Boston for the birth. Then he and their 3 year old son plan to travel to/from Boston to be together as a family at Christmas. If all goes well, our daughter and Courtland will come home with the rest of our family in early February, 2014. No one can plan for something like this, and they simply do not have the financial means to pay for the mountain of expenses they will encounter.

This is why I am asking for your help on their behalf. Although I am in touch with a few charitable foundations/organizations trying to arrange travel (to/from Boston) and living arrangements while in Boston, they simply cannot cover all of the expenses. Money is desperately needed to help with all of the expenses. If you are able and willing, or know anyone that can help, please donate money to help offset their expenses.

Please keep Courtney and her family in your prayers. And thank you so much for helping!

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Organizer

Carole Stewardson 
Organizer
Roanoke, VA
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