I was 20 weeks’ pregnant when my husband and I learned that our son, Sam, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) — a severe heart defect. As parents, we were devastated that our child may not make it to his birth, and if he did, may not have the best life after he was born.
But Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota calmed so many of our fears. Sam’s care team, including a pediatric cardiologist, perinatal physicians and nurses, surgeon, and many more have been with us since the beginning, helping us navigate this scary diagnosis. And every time Sam has undergone an open heart surgery — five so far, each represented by a heart on his monkey — we’ve found great comfort in his team’s extensive work with HLHS, knowing that they have been at the forefront of ways to treat this complicated condition.
By working together, our team has made our visits to Children’s better than expected. They’ve empowered us to be part of Sam’s care, and we are able to influence important decisions that have ultimately helped him feel better. I am amazed that everyone has said how grateful they are to help Sam, but I don’t think they realize how amazing they are and how grateful we are for them. They have given our son his life; they have helped us be a family.
Stacey Schumann is the mother of Children’s patient Sam Schumann.