Six months after Rachel and Levi Strauss married at the coldest Valentine’s Day in Detroit historical past, they realized they have been going to have a child.
At their house in Houston, Levi helped fulfill Rachel’s cravings for milkshakes, chips and queso, and mega-stuffed cookies.
At Rachel’s 20-week anatomy scan, the couple held fingers and smiled because the technician identified their son’s 10 tiny palms and feet. The infant had a wholesome mind and kidneys.
Then the technician noticed his coronary heart. She fell silent. She left the room to get Rachel’s physician.
Rachel and Levi’s fingers started to sweat.
The physician advised them one thing did not glance somewhat proper with their son’s coronary heart. A fetal echocardiogram used to be had to resolve the issue. However it used to be a Friday. The couple needed to wait in the course of the weekend to get the check performed.
Early the following week, a technician carried out the three-hour check. A couple of days later, Rachel and Levi, who each paintings in insurance coverage, have been of their person places of work steps clear of each and every different when Rachel’s physician known as.
She advised the couple the newborn had a coronary heart defect. Levi’s fingers began to shake and so they each started to cry. She recommended they switch to a close-by youngsters’s clinic the place there have been consultants who may just assist, and get every other fetal echocardiogram.
That weekend Levi had deliberate a party for Rachel at their space. He covered up a grilled cheese meals truck for visitors. Rachel sought after to cancel.
“The extra certain we’re, the extra certain the result goes to be,” Levi advised her.
As it used to be just about Valentine’s Day, Levi deliberate a coronary heart décor. They caught with it. In addition they placed on a courageous face. Now not able to percentage their information, the couple did their very best to benefit from the tournament with family and friends.
The following week, that they had the second one echo. Their new physician introduced them into what Levi calls “the crying room.” The physician advised them their son had a congenital coronary heart defect known as tetralogy of Fallot. His strange coronary heart construction used to be inflicting oxygen-poor blood to go away his coronary heart and glide round his frame. He additionally had pulmonary atresia. That is when the valve accountable for controlling blood glide from the guts to the lungs does not shape.
He would most probably be born blue, the physician mentioned, and wish open-heart surgical procedure in a while after start. Rachel and Levi held each and every different and cried. They purchased a large at ease sofa and stayed house from paintings for every week binging TV displays.
“I began bawling behind Absolute best Purchase,” Rachel mentioned. “Then,” Levi added, “we did our analysis.”
Within the following days, they realized extra concerning the situation and located a heart specialist and surgeon they felt pleased with. “I have in mind considering, if Rachel and I will be able to get thru this, we will be able to get thru anything else,” Levi mentioned.
The couple knew that as a result of the newborn’s coronary heart downside, Rachel would should be prompted. They crammed the supply room with family and friends and made customized T-shirts for everybody with an image of a coronary heart on it. Nurses wore the shirts, too.
Just about two dozen docs and nurses packed the supply room. Rachel’s very best buddy texted are living updates to family and friends no longer within the room.
Leo Elijah Strauss used to be born purple, no longer blue, and he used to be named after Levi’s grandfather, who is a Holocaust survivor. Leo’s identify in Hebrew, Lev, method coronary heart. Rachel and Levi held Leo prior to he used to be whisked off to the neonatal in depth care unit the place he spent the following 23 days.
They gave him a blanket they would slept with prior to the start and a crammed lion they named Frasier after Leo’s surgeon.
On his twenty third day of lifestyles, Leo underwent a surgical procedure that lasted just about 9 hours. It widened the passageway between his proper ventricle and pulmonary artery to fortify blood glide to his lungs. After surgical procedure, he used to be hooked as much as wires and cords. He needed to devour thru a feeding tube. Ten days later, Rachel and Levi took him house.
Now, Leo is 5 and loves enjoying with Legos. He needs to be a police officer and a dad when he grows up. He loves enjoying together with his little sister, Goldie, 4, whose Hebrew