Whenever we hear someone is pregnant, it is a guarantee they will be asked if they want a boy or a girl and the response from the expectant parents is likely to be, "It doesn't matter as long as the baby is healthy." Unfortunately, there are babies that are not born healthy, but we wouldn't trade them for the world.
In the United States, 40,000 children are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) each year, which is 1 in 125 births, making it the most common birth defect. Congenital means existing at birth, and while some may use the term "congenital heart disease," defect is much more accurate as the hearts of those born with CHDs did not develop normally.
The causes CHDs are not well known, but some are the result of genetic disorders or environmental factors. While CHDs can be diagnosed in infancy or even in utero, some defects are more difficult to detect and might not be diagnosed until later in childhood or even adulthood.
If you don't know a CHD survivor, you do now! May I introduce to you my son, Robby. While a fetal ultrasound viewing his heart left us with an 85 percent chance his heart was fine, a stethoscope and an astute pediatrician detected a heart murmur when he was born. On his third day of life, Robby was diagnosed with two congenital heart defects. He has undergone one open heart surgery and will have at least one more. He is our hero and as part of Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, we honor him and are so proud of the amazing 9-year-old he is!