10 Things Having a Baby with a CHD Has Taught Me

I’ve been busy thinking about blogging, and not too busy blogging. Well, I’ve been getting ready to launch a new, not-Charlotte-centered blog. This blog will continue, of course (my brother might give me grief if not!), but I’ve got some other things to say.

For today, I’d like to share with you another blog, that of comedian Tommy Riles. His website, Life of Dad, began the day his first daughter was born and he and his wife found out that she had a CHD. Like Charlotte’s Journey Home, Life of Dad began as a forum for updating his family and friends about Babs’s struggle and recovery. It has grown into a premiere social networking community for dads, publishing articles by 30 writing fathers who each bring a different perspective to the “Dad Cave.” Tommy has for many years been the warm-up comedian for the Ellen DeGeneres Show and early in the life of Life of Dad, he and his wife appeared on Ellen to raised awareness for our CHD kids. They are truly champions and he’s really funny.

I know of Tommy because he has partnered with Francie and Brian Paul to raise money for Saving Tiny Hearts Society, a not-for-profit dedicated to increasing funds for research into the whys and treatments of CHD.

By having a child with a congenital heart defect, I’ve learned a lot. Not only about CHD, recovery, insurance, parenting, and striving for normal. I’ve learned that parents of CHD kids (and other complex kids) are extraordinary in their own way. Francie and Brian turned their despair into a fight–for Joshua’s life (he’s nearly 7 and quite a bruiser!) and the lives of the rest of our kids. Bab’s CHD gave Tommy the impetus to communicate, use his platform and connections to raise awareness, and create a stable of “Daddy Bloggers.” They are my heroes.

And, in this month of Heart Health Awareness, I hope you’ll read the 10 Things Tom Riles has learned by having a child with a CHD. The original post is here.

With Tommy’s permission, I’m posting the first three things as a bit of a teaser:

1. Congenital heart defects are the #1 birth defect worldwide. When my wife was 18 weeks pregnant with her, we found out that my daughter, Babs, had a heart defect. I knew nothing about CHDs at the time, but now I know that 1 of 100 babies has a CHD, and awareness is a necessity.
2. My daughter is the strongest person that I know. Babs survived open-heart surgery at three days old. She’s tough, she’s funny, and she likes to sing. She is one strong fighting Irish girl.
3. I’m stronger having known my daughter. Once I realized the strength that my daughter has, I had no choice to become stronger. Now I do pushups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks every day.

Read on at Life of Dad!

Tommy’s post feels like a bit of a meme to me, so look for my ten things soon!

p.s. I’m happy to post in support of Ellen DeGeneres and her show. I like what she stands for. And, I’ll shop JCP anytime!

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