My Iron Angel-A Father’s Letter to His Daughter with CHD

Before I begin to address this letter to my daughter, I would like to tell all the parents of children with Congenital Heart Defects (CHD), that the battle against CHD is tough, but do not lose hope.

With timely and proper care, every child with CHD can lead a normal life. And I wish and pray for the same for my child so she can continue leading a healthy life. You can donate to save little hearts at Genesis Foundation.

Dear Thanvika

You are the apple of my eyes and I could not have been more thankful for you. This father’s day I want to tell you about your adventurous journey into the world and our lives.

As you know from your grandparents, they were not very happy with mine and your mom’s marriage initially as we had a love marriage, and yes during our younger years, it was a little unconventional. But when your elder brother Shree Harsan came into this world, the family was happier.

Our routine life went on, with your mom working as a professor in a private college and me as a maintenance engineer. Your brother was growing up fast and we wanted him to have a sibling to play with. Soon your mother conceived. By that time your brother was already in Lkg and very excitedly waiting for your arrival so he could play with you.

We went to G. Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital for a medical check-up. We got to know that you were a breech baby at that time in a feet-first position (yes, you were always a naughty girl!). But closer to the delivery date, you were in the correct position and the doctor advised for a normal delivery.

But your entry was so dramatic like a scene from a movie. I was waiting with your brother and grandmother, when there was a fire alarm and I saw fire break out in the labour room and I was terrified for you and your mom’s safety. But thank God, you both were okay and the nurse told me I’d been blessed with a baby girl. I don’t remember any news that felt happier to my ears than that.

Then you threw another surprise at us after coming into this world, because you were not crying. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) doctors did a few checkups and I got to know from Dr Vijaya Kumar that you had some respiratory and heart problems. I still remember how I cried that day because I could not believe what I’d been told.

Arranging the money for the surgery was difficult, but by the grace of God, I managed in time for the open heart surgery. It was impossible for me to accept mentally that my tiny little angel was having such an extensive surgery. After that when I saw you on the ventilator with so many tubes, I knew you were my iron angel fighting so hard.

After you stabilized, physiotherapy was continued to expand your lungs. In fact, we had to make you cry forcefully so that your lungs would enlarge, and for that you were beaten on your backside. Now you know why I crack the joke that you’ve been beaten a lot as a baby.

Along with oxygen support, you were discharged from the hospital and after 3 weeks the doctors decided to discontinue it because you were doing absolutely fine.

As a middle class man, arranging financial aid for the checkups, surgery and follow-ups was not easy. But it was your beautiful face that gave me hope. Hope for a better tomorrow, even with all the struggles.

Genesis Foundation helps children with CHD arranging financial aid. You can donate to save little hearts here.

CHD was not your fault and neither ours. But as a family and with the help of some of the best doctors, we came out stronger. You’re our tough little girl who fought hard against the odds life threw at you and emerged as an iron angel.

You are the sunshine of our lives and I pray that you always have a healthy and hearty life filled with lots of adventures (maybe not the fire types?).

Lots of Love
Your Dad

–  Contributed by M.Babu, Edited by Monisa N.

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