[left:59f216d6e0]http://www.cherubs-cdh.org/Album/new/heiting-sean.jpg[/left:59f216d6e0]In the summer of 1996, I discovered I was pregnant with our second child. We were thrilled! We were a bit nervous, since our older daughter would only be 19 months old when this new child was due. We knew we would -have our hands full; little did we know just how full our hands would be! I experienced a normal pregnancy. No major problems. At my first sonogram, my doctor noticed I had placenta previa. He was not concerned and said we would have another sonogram at 34 weeks to make sure it corrected itself, which it did. The 34-week sonogram indicated absolutely no problems. I had a 3rd sonogram on my due date, just to see if I should be induced. The doctor estimated the baby's size at over nine pounds. He scheduled an induction for the next week. My baby didn't wait for that. Sean Allen Heiting decided he was ready to be born the next day!

February 22, 1997 at 12:22 pm Sean came into this world. He WAS a BIG boy, weighing in at 8lbs 15oz.He also had beautiful red hair. My entire family was so excited that he had red hair. That seemed to be all anyone was talking about - until. The nurses said Sean was "pulling" while trying to breathe. I was a little concerned, but my doctor assured me he would be OK, and that he probably just took in some amniotic fluid during birth. The nurses decided to take him down to neonatal ICU just to check him out. He would be back in my room in about an hour. My husband said he needed to run home for just a minute. I said no problem, we had an hour before Sean would be back and I had plenty of family there to keep me company. After about 30 minutes, a doctor walked into my room and stated "Where's your husband" I said. "He just ran home for a minute, why?" He bluntly stated, "Well your son is very sick, and we are not sure if he can survive." After that, I really didn't hear anything. Luckily, my mother-in-law quickly began taking notes on every word the doctor uttered. He was diagnosed with CDH and needed to be transferred to Children's Medical Center at Dallas immediately. They were not sure that he would survive the transport, so they gave me some Polaroid pictures of him. After speaking with me, the doctor went out in the hall and discussed the situation with some nurses. My father overheard the doctor say this baby had less than a 10% chance of survival. We were overwhelmed and in shock. I was wheeled downstairs to see my son before transport. He had tubes everywhere and was paralyzed by the drugs he was given. He looked so lifeless, not at the entire baby I had seen less than an hour before. My husband arrived back at the hospital just as the ambulance was preparing for transport. He was in shock. We had time to cry together for about 3 minutes, then he jumped in the Ambulance with Sean and stayed with him at Children's.

I called all night long to check on my baby from my hospital bed. They assured me he was doing OK. They were just waiting for the best time to perform the surgery to correct the CDH.I was released from the hospital first thing the next morning and went straight to Children's. The staff there was excellent. Everyone there was so good at explaining every tube, drug, procedure, etc.. Each of his nurses cared so well for him! At 4:00pm February 23rd,they decided Sean was as stable as he was ever going to be, and decided to go ahead and attempt the surgery. The surgeon, Dr. Megison, warned us that if he made it through the surgery, we still had a very long road ahead. Most patients never get out of the hospital in less than a month, and could be much longer. We stayed optimistic, even with all the bad news we were receiving. Friends, family, and strangers all around were praying for Sean. He came out of surgery great. No problems. Now it was time for the waiting game. Could Sean recover and get off the ventilator? One nurse explained to us how surprised everyone was at the success of this baby. Sean did nothing but progress. The most memorable phrase was "Some babies, you can do everything in the world for, and they still won't make it. Others you can beat with a stick and they still won't die. You have a fighter here. It must be that red hair!" From that moment on we knew Sean would-make it. When Sean was 5 days old, his nurse on the night shift came out and woke us up. I was terrified. I guess he could tell from the look-my face I was scared. He whispered, 'Everything is OK, I have a surprise for you. Come with me." My husband and I gowned. We walked in and they had a recliner sitting in his ICU room and said, "Sit down. Would you like to hold your son?" I knew we were on the road to recovery.

On day 10 Sean had been weaned from the ventilator. He was on oxygen for two more days. We were able to take him home on day 13! The doctors and nurses were shocked. This baby that should have died, not only survived, but also came home from the hospital in record time! We are extremely lucky. To this day, the only problems Sean has are recurrent lower respiratory infections during cold season. We have to use a nebulizer regularly when he has a cold; other than that he is a perfectly normal healthy, and VERY active little two year old boy - with the temper of a red-head! I used to think the terrible two's were just the worst. I now thank God everyday that I am able to experience the terrible two's with such a special guy like Sean. He reminds me everyday just how special life is, and I have learned to take time and enjoy it.

Written by Sean's mom, Anne Heiting (Texas)