On Monday August 14, 2017 Chris & Jenny Chen (and big brother Henry!) welcomed Dieter Shengxian Chen into their family! After a long and difficult delivery, Dieter was born 8lbs 10 oz. Dieter was big and strong--which was exactly what their doctor told them they needed. Dieter was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). A rare heart defect. In a nut shell, the left side of his heart did not develop correctly and the connecting valves and vessels were about 1/10 of the size they should be. The treatment for this is a series of 3 open heart surgeries in the first few years of his life. The first one within the first few days. They have to re-route his blood flow from the left side to the right side. Dieter will depend entirely on the right side of his heart his entire life.
On Wednesday (August 16th) at just two days old Dieter had his 1st open heart surgery. Prayers & miracles were key to Dieter having a successful surgery--and an incredibly wonderful medical staff. After hours of waiting during the surgery, his parents were told things went as well as they could have hoped. His blood vessels were becoming more restrictive and doing the surgery so soon was absolutely mandatory for him. Again blessings and miracles.
On Friday (August 18th) Dieter had a second surgery closing his chest (they have to wait for swelling to go down--absolutely no pressure on his fragile heart!) things went well with this procedure, and the surgeon was pleased with how Dieter is coming along.
The next month will be spent with a Dieter in the CICU (cardiac intensive care) & in the surgical unit for close monitoring at Primary Children's, with his mom being on hand as much as possible. This is a highly critical and fragile time called the "Interstage Program" where things can change quickly and often, with many unpredictable complicationsand last till the seconds open heart surgery.
Dieter's second open heart surgery will take place anywhere from 4-6 months (depending on how well he heals and gains weight) and his 3rd open heart surgery will be around 3 years old. Jenny plans on staying in Provo till after the 2nd surgery, not wanting to switch cardiologists and commuting from Idaho to SLC for bi-weekly visits etc.
Chris, Jenny and Henry live in Nampa, Idaho and received special permission from their insurance to deliver at U of U hospital, which has a connecting window to Primary Children's. Jenny is staying nearby as long as necessary, but Chris needs to go home for work and has limited paid days off. We are hoping to raise enough money to help with the staggering amount of medical bills, out of state expenses, possible child care fees for Henry and travel costs etc.
As you can imagine stress levels are very high. Living apart for the next few months is so difficult and so exhausting. Henry developed a cold and has been unable to meet his little brother, which was disappointing, but thanks to facetime and modern technology they can keep him as involved as possible.
Jenny and Chris have felt the love and the prayers from so many in the past few weeks and have felt Gods hand and calming assurance strongly this last week. They are humbled and so very grateful. As a family we thank everyone for their kind wishes and thoughtful gestures, it has all been very appreciated. We will keep updating and keeping people as informed as we can! Again, thank you!