In 2011, we were thrilled to be adding to our family. Our son Kain was born March 1, 2011 at Unity Point, full term and seemingly healthy. But with the careful care of the neonatal doctors, they discovered that our son was born with the #1 most common birth defect found in babies– Tetrology of Fallot. A rare genetic heart condition, it is caused by a combination of four heart defects that are present at birth. These defects, which affect the structure of the heart, cause oxygen-poor blood to flow out of the heart and into the rest of the body. We were stunned to realize how quickly our lives were about to change. Kain had a chest x-ray there in the hospital and we were referred to OSF Hospital in Peoria where we had an appointment when he was a week old. They told us to expect surgery around the age of six months. We asked to transfer Kain’s case to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, as it was much closer to home, and we were expecting monthly appointments leading up to his surgery. Although they classified Kain’s heart defect as “textbook” we still worried about keeping his heart calm and avoiding any “tet spells” or having him turn blue and stop breathing from excessive crying.
Kain’s heart surgery was scheduled, and on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, we handed him over to the doctors. As a parent, it was the most helpless feeling– passing your child off to someone that you don’t know. We were reassured by the amazing doctors and nurses that were caring for our little guy. Kain pulled through his surgery beautifully, and began his healing very quickly. We began referring to him as our “rockstar” due to his fast healing and progress. We spent just two and a half days in the PICU, and then another few days on the general Pediatric floor. We were discharged from the hospital just 8 days after his surgery, and Kain hasn’t looked back since!
Kain is now almost 4 years old, and our wild and crazy little boy doesn’t let anything stop him! We do keep a close eye on his heart, but his development and health is excellent. We are very fortunate, and realize every day how amazing Kain is doing.
We are excited to be serving as the 2015 Mississippi Valley Signature Chefs Auction Ambassador Family, and to be giving back to a foundation that has given us so much. Sharing our story will help bring awareness to the importance of the March of Dimes and their mission, while also raising essential funds to support their life-saving research.
~Mike, Jenna, Kain and Parker Cooksey