2022 Chicago Congenital Heart Walk


Heartbeats by Bella

Arabella, was born on June 1, 2016 with a CHD. We found out on our 20 week ultrasound that she had a heart defect and would require surgery, but were originally told it would be HLHS. Over the next few months we prepared ourselves for the worst, knowing she would require multiple surgeries and a very long hospital stay if she survived. To our surprise and extreme delight, as my pregnancy progressed and Bella’s heart continued to grow, it became more apparent that she did not in fact have HLHS but did still have a heart defect. We decided after much research to have whatever surgery her heart needed to be performed by Dr. Ilbawi out of Christ Hospital. When I was 30 weeks pregnant I transferred service to Christ so we could have her surgery there.

The day Arabella was born we immediately fell in love with her as all parents do. It didn’t matter to us whether her heart was perfect or not, she was perfect to us. After a 5 day NICU stay, the surgeons were ready to fix her Coarctation of the Aorta. The emotions that went through her father and I at the time are unimaginable. To experience you child in surgery, without any ability to intervene, is the most scary, unbelievable feeling you could ever imagine. Luckily, she came out thriving and was ready to go home in 5 days. We were beyond grateful for all the surgeons, doctors and nurses who helped to save our daughter.

Bella currently has no limitations and loves doing gymnastics and chasing her little brother Michael around all day! We look forward to see what the next year will bring, knowing each day we get with her is a gift all thanks to her wonderful team of Doctors. We now look forward to doing the CHD walk each year with all of our friends and family and helping to raise money for other children and families in need of a miracle!

Thank you in advance for your support!

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