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Teddy was born with a rare heart defect called Ventricular Inversion of the Left-Transposition. This means that the stronger side of his heart was pumping blood to his lungs and the weaker side of his heart was trying to circulate the blood to his whole body. In addition to his inverted ventricles, Teddy also had Transposition of the Great Arteries. This means that the two arteries that bring blood to the heart (one artery takes it to the right chamber of the heart, the other artery takes it to the left chamber) were also backwards. So, because so much of Teddy’s heart was backwards, we usually just say he was born with a “backwards heart”.

At birth, Teddy was perfect. No signs of distress, no cardiac failure, nothing. The team of cardiologists who reviewed Teddy’s case all agreed that if Teddy’s heart could work sufficiently the way it was, then it would be best to leave it alone. The big catch was that they DID anticipate that at some point in time, Teddy’s heart would fail him. The team of cardiologists just didn’t know when. It could be when he is 70 years old, it could be when he’s 30, it could even be when he’s 5.

Teddy’s heart failed at age 2 months. Because we hadn’t performed surgery on his heart right away, we found out that it would take two surgeries to mend Teddy’s heart. After his recovery from the first surgery, Teddy would have to grow and gain strength for three months and then he would have his second surgery.

Shortly after surgery #1, Teddy became very sick. We drove him up to Omaha Children’s Hospital ourselves and called our doctors on the way to tell them what we were doing. After one day in the hospital, Teddy was moved to ICU and diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He was no longer able to sustain his life on his own and would require the assistance of many medications and machines.

We knew that we wouldn’t be able to wait three more months for Teddy to have surgery #2 so his surgeon suggested that we do a repeat of surgery #1 to try to excel his progress and prepare him for the next step in surgery quicker.

Surgery #2 was done and the results were not desirable. Teddy got sicker quicker and required more and more assistance in sustaining his life. So, ready or not, surgery #3 was scheduled.

Surgery #3 was a big day. We knew that Teddy’s life depended on this surgery. If it failed, Teddy’s life would be over. Teddy was taken to the OR at 7:00 a.m. He was about to undergo a surgery that had never been done in Omaha before. A surgery that had only been invented in the last 10 years. A surgery that would take both Pediatric Heart Surgeons at Children’s Hospital. A surgery that would ultimately last 12 hours. Around 8:00 p.m. we were finally able to peak at our little Teddy Bear and praise God for his provision and protection on Teddy’s precious little heart.

Teddy has done very well since his life-saving surgery. Our original hope was that he would not have to go through open-heart surgery again. However, over the past few years we have been tracking two of his valves as their function has slowly worsened. We now prepare for a fourth-open heart surgery with hopes that the valves are repairable and will not need to be replaced.

Teddy’s life is full of joy. He is a strong-willed, feisty, amusing, and surprisingly shy child. We swell up with pride knowing that God chose us to be his family.

Below are a few of his nicknames that define his amusing character:

  • Teddy the Tornado
  • Teddy Bear
  • Theodorable
  • Teddy the Tank
  • Avalanche