Rowan Paige Sanders was born four weeks early on July 15, 2018 in Austin, TX. She was born with three major heart defects; TGA (Transposition of the great arteries
), a large VSD (Ventricular septal defect
) and aortic coarctation
. After birth she had to be immediately flown from Austin to Children's Medical Center of Dallas because of her dire need for open heart surgery. The surgery lasted approximately twelve hours which included being on cardiopulmonary bypass
. The surgery went well and she has been recovering in the cardiac intensive care unit ever since. Before and during surgery she had to have a breathing tube to do most of her breathing for her. After surgery she was able to be weaned off her breathing tube however there were lasting issues with her respiration. Her left vocal cord is paralyzed (it should recover in time) due to the breathing tube as well as the surgery. After we were able to get the breathing tube out we found that she also has Laryngomalacia
, which causes airway obstruction when she tries to breath. She isn't yet able to feed by mouth but she does get breast milk through her nasogastric intubation. We are currently riding out the rest of her recovery in the ICU and it is yet to be determined how long until she can be discharged to go home. We've had early mornings and even longer nights but with the phenomenal support of family and friends we've been able to weather this storm while maintaining our optimism for her recovery process.
The process has been long and throughout Rowan's stay in the hospital we've become acquainted with over 100 different members of the wonderful medical staff at Children's hospital. We've met cardiac nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, music therapists, respiratory therapists, cardiologists, echocardiologists, physicians, MRI specialists, anesthesiologists, heart surgeons, social workers and many more. We've gotten to hold Rowan and be with her through every step of this journey. We previously started a moderately more detailed blog of our journey on Caring Bridge (https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rowansanders
We've started this GoFundMe because the medical bills from her emergency air transport, heart surgery and nearly two month stay in cardiac ICU have started to pile up on top of our daily expenses in Dallas and maintaining our home (and two cats) in Austin. We've had friends and family reach out regarding how they could help out and after speaking with a few other families in a similar situation as us, we thought this would be a good avenue for support. We thank everyone who has supported us already with prayers, thoughts, donations and love! We wanted to give everyone an easy avenue to support our amazing heart warrior Rowan and we thank everyone for their support, prayers and generosity.