One year ago today is when it all began. Having been an EMT and First Responder for years, and well versed in the medical field, I had never even heard of HLHS much less in detail the severity of "Baby B's" (Abigail) condition and all that was ahead of her and us as a family. At the time we were a family soon to be of 6 and one year later I will have a family soon to be 3.
I remember how I had no clue how I was going to afford supporting all of us on a single family income especially with the major cost of medical bills that I would be facing, relocating to Houston, which at the time we didnt even know would need to happen and working the business from several states over. But I also remember saying, "I dont know how, but we will make it, there is always a way."
Then the final two blows . . . dad's diagnosis of aggressive colon cancer and a divorce with 5 month old twins.
Every stage of this journey I felt as if I was topped out at my potential, mentally, physically, spiritually and financially. Even before we got the blessesed news of our pregnancy, I remember thinking I was giving all I had, working what seemed like endless hours for days straight, running errands daily as we only had one vehicle and my wife was unable to drive and trying to be the best husband and step father I could be. But each new additional trial, I have been given the inner resources to cope and manage things. It wasn't until the last several months that I'd say every aspect of my life has been red linned. It has been more than life changing to say the least and has put me through tests that as a man, husband, father and son I have never imagined possible much less experienced.
BUT, there isn't any other life I would swap it for and that's the truth. Everything I have gone through has prepared me to cope and keep my head straight through all of this. So all of the above is not with complaints but with humility and undeserving grace from the Almighty and so much HEARTfelt appreciation for my family that has been there for me in so many ways especially during the many days I have needed to vent, my customers that have been a blessing in not only being patient with missed deadlines but donating their hard earned money to help keep things afloat as well as all of the many friends and family and friends of friends and people I have never even met giving and praying so generously and consistently through this very difficult journey.
I am forever grateful for all of the many sacrifices that have been made by so many loving people. One day, Abigail & Eliana will know how so many people did so much for them and loved and cared for them.
I want you all to know that you all played a majorly significant part in saving Abigail's life. Although I gave everything I had, there is absolutely no way that I could have done this without you all and God. I'm embarrassed to say that on several occasions, it was your donations that kept our insanely expensive insurance from getting canceled, which is always a constant fear that hangs over my head and has been since we first started this younger. And rightfully so as Abigails life is so very dependent on health insurance. So far her medical expenses have totally to 2.6 Million Dollars and thats just in the first 8 months of her life. I cannot say thank you enough, but rest assured I will do everything in my power to make sure two amazing little girls will grow up safe and knowing how much they are loved by all of you, their earthly father and Heavenly Father.
Unfortunately, things are just as stressful in all aspects but I am praying for guidance and the resources to be able to handle my expanding divorce. It's best, I'm sure that, I do not go into details regarding that on here, but feel free to private message me.
I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day!
HLHS - Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Houston, Texas at Texas Children's Hospital ABIGAIL ELIZABETH COVAN 8-19-2017
My wife and were blessed this year to find out that we were pregnant! On our first ultrasound, we were further blessed and pleasantly surprised to find out that we are having twins!! Then, we went in for our 18-week ultrasound and found out that we are having twin girls! This was especially important to us as my wife and I have two amazing boys, Gabe (age 3) and Eli (age 7), so we were praying for at least one girl. Gabe and Eli are my step sons, however I think of them as my own children and unfortunately we have not received any support. Right after being told we were having baby girls, my wife’s doctor told us that they found some possible abnormalities with one of our twins and that there could possibly be something wrong with her heart and possible extra cerebral fluid on her brain and she asked us if we could make it to an immediate appointment with a high-risk pregnancy doctor in Mobile, Alabama in just a couple hours. We of course said yes. After a more detailed ultrasound, our high-risk doctor and Pediatric Cardiologist confirmed that yes, one of our baby girls (Abigail) has HLHS, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome along with Hydrocephalus. This was completely unexpected and shocking, but I remember hoping, as our doctor explained further details, that no matter how bad it is, as long as our babies and their mommy will make it through this, then that is all I asked. In the past 4 weeks from that day, our lives have consisted of adjustment after adjustment. I had an F-150 that seated only 5, fuel was expensive, and on top of that, considering traveling back and forth to Boston or other hospitals, that are able to perform lifesaving surgery, it did not make the truck suitable, so immediately I put my truck up for sale and bought the least expensive reliable SUV I could find and cut our payment in half as well as gas expenses. We also worked it out with our landlord to be able to break our lease early and are currently packing and trying to find a place to rent and cut that bill in half or as close to it as possible. My wife stays at home and takes care of our two boys and I also work from home and own Magnolia Media, a marketing company where I design and develop custom websites, logos, SEO, printed material, etc. etc. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (insulin dependent) 7 years ago and was already working 80+ hours a week before finding out that one of our twin girls would have to have immediate life-saving surgery after delivery, as well as two more after that and possibly even have to have a heart transplant due to the severity of her condition, and that no hospital in Mobile or anywhere close could perform this procedure. We started looking at Boston as they are #1 in the nation, however it is so very far away and none of our family would be able to come support us. So, now we are looking at Children’s Hospital in Houston (Rated #2 for HLHS Surgeries) as well as UAB in Birmingham, AL. Having been a volunteer firefighter for nearly 10 years and an EMT and First Responder as well, I feel God was preparing me for what lies ahead of us with caring for Abigail. I currently no longer volunteer but hope to one day when things settle back down so I can continue to serve my community and help others while instilling this quality in all 4 of our children. I mention all of the above not to complain, but to humble myself before friends, family and people we don’t even know, to ask them to donate what they can and have worked hard for. I want everyone to know that I have done and will do all I can to provide a way to save our daughters life, as without even the first open heart surgery, she will die within days and there is a 0% chance of survival without this. With the surgery, there is a 97% survival rate after the first open heart surgery. Even after cutting our bills down as low as possible and with health insurance the expenses of saving Abigail are extreme. Just our out of pocket for the year is nearly $15,000, not to mention travel expenses to and from Texas Children's or UAB, help with our other two children while we are away for at least a month or longer at a time, as well as childcare when we return. We will incur lodging cost before delivery as we will have to be close to the hospital at least several weeks before the babies are delivered, and the time I will have to take off from work, however I will still be working any chance I can during all of this. Our family has so much ahead of us. We as Christians rely on God’s strength and guidance as we reach out to all of you and will be so grateful if you could help in any way you can, even if it’s just taking the time to forward this on your social media or email anyone you know that could help. If there is anyway I can return the favor, I am more than willing. God Bless you and please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. Skip & Jazzmin Covan Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/724294187753641/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Saving-Abigails-Heart-HLHS-Hydrocephilus-1491120940933133/
￼Rhonald McDonald House in Houston, TX we are staying at. They are such a blessing to us! ￼In route to Texas Children's Hospital and relocating to Houston, Tx for a minimum of 6-7 months! ￼Our sweet baby Eliana! ￼Our Sweet Abigail! ￼Our two blessings, Abby and Ely! ￼Me and my youngest step-son, Gabe! ￼Ultrasound pic of baby Abigail! ￼My Beautiful wife Jazzmin Covan! :) ￼Me back when I volunteered as a medic and fireifghter for Seven Hills Fire Department! ￼Jazz and I on her birthday when we first started dating! ￼Jazz and I when we first started dating! ￼ Eli and I when he caught his first fish! UPDATE (before delivery) We are now not only dealing with Abigail and Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Ventricularmegaly but now Polyhydramnios (too much fluid in amniotic sac), and the abscence of the Septum Pellucidum. In addition to new diagnosis with Abigail, both of our twin girls have a major weight difference. Abigail is in the 80th percentile while Eliana is in the 10th percentile. For Abigail to be able to have her first heart surgery, she will need to put on several more pounds and Eliana is not even 3 lbs at 30 weeks gestation. Please continue to support us through prayer, sharing our story and donating should God lead you in that direction. Thank you so very much and God Bless You! - Skip C. ----------------------------------------------------------