Two babies were calved successful 2018. Arkaydin Howard successful Racine, Wisconsin. Peter Hernandez successful Silica, Kansas. Little did either household know, their stories would soon beryllium profoundly intertwined.
Christopher and Erin Hernandez welcomed their 3rd child, Peter, into the satellite connected Aug. 18, 2018. He appeared healthy. But his bosom wasn’t functioning correctly.
“It was a caregiver that caught that helium had a bosom murmur,” Christopher said. “With that scan, they learned thing much contiguous had happened and we hadn’t truly got a batch of details astatine that point.”
But, the infirmary they were astatine did not person the indispensable instrumentality to bash much for Peter. After being sent to Kansas City’s Children’s Hospital, the household was informed that Peter had a congenital bosom defect: aortic stenosis.
Not adjacent 2 weeks old, Peter would acquisition his archetypal country to repair his small heart. While the country was initially ruled a success, Peter contracted a staph corruption that would destruct the repairs.
After unfastened bosom country astatine conscionable 4 weeks old, Peter was doing better, past helium wasn’t.
“On the time that we thought we were going to permission the PICU (pediatric intensive attraction unit), alternatively helium went into cardiac apprehension and ended up backmost connected beingness support,” Erin said.
In November 2018, Peter was listed connected the transplant list.
‘He was specified a bully boy’
That aforesaid month, Arkaydin Howard was born, connected Nov. 4, but his clip would beryllium short. Arkaydin’s mother, Brittney Struebing, said erstwhile helium was with her, helium was a precise blessed baby.
“He was specified a bully boy,” Struebing said past November. “He was truthful cute, virtually perfect.”
At conscionable 3 months old, successful February 2019, Arkaydin died erstwhile his begetter was expected to person been looking aft him. A assemblage found his begetter guilty of second-degree reckless homicide successful November 2020; helium was accused of having shaken the baby. He is due to beryllium sentenced Friday.
Struebing, a young adult, was faced with a astir intolerable prime aft losing her son: whether to donate her small boy’s organs. In the end, Struebing elected to donate Arkaydin’s bosom with the anticipation of helping idiosyncratic else’s baby.
His bosom would reply the Hernandez family’s prayers. Christopher and Erin called it bittersweet.
“You’re virtually praying for different kid not to marque it and, truthful it feels similar — you’re not — but it feels similar it due to the fact that the top anticipation successful our beingness astatine that constituent besides meant idiosyncratic else’s worst time of their life,” Erin said.
His bosom beats on
Arkaydin’s bosom beats connected today. Peter received Arkaydin’s bosom 4 months aft being connected the transplant list, during which clip the Hernandez household had fundamentally go 2 units. Erin stayed successful Kansas City with Peter astatine the infirmary portion Christopher, on the assistance with household and the community, took attraction of the couple’s different 2 children, Aurora and Michael.
Peter’s parents expressed gratitude for their “amazing” assemblage that chipped successful to assistance portion the household worked towards bringing Peter home, which they did erstwhile helium was astir 9 months old. But for Christopher, the astir astonishing happening was his wife. He jokes that she could spell backmost to schoolhouse for nursing aft learning truthful overmuch from her acquisition caring for Peter.
“Erin has done a tremendous magnitude of enactment with him, due to the fact that erstwhile you’re a Heart Mom, I deliberation you’re a Heart Mom for life,” Christopher said. “Heart Mom” refers to parents of children with bosom issues.
While the household has been successful interaction with Struebing done letters and telephone calls, they met for the archetypal clip via Zoom connected Tuesday. Christopher and Erin explained to their kids, present aged 3, 7 and 10, that Struebing was the “Heart Mom,” arsenic they telephone her successful their house.
Peter, similar immoderate 3-year-old, was playing with his “Paw Patrol” toys portion wearing “Paw Patrol” footie pajamas, which helium promptly showed disconnected to Struebing.
“Thank you for my heart,” Peter said to Struebing.
Happy to conscionable them
Struebing said she was truthful blessed to conscionable the household and to spot that Peter was “so strong.” Erin and Christopher, who said Struebing was present a portion of their family, are trying to find retired a mode for her to perceive to Arkaydin’s bosom again and besides program for her to sojourn them.
“Thank you for keeping it (Arkaydin’s heart) beardown and going, truthful convey you to you, too,” Struebing told Peter.
After going done physical, occupational and code therapy, Peter lives similar astir 3-year-olds, playing and causing mayhem for his siblings. For Christopher and Erin, proceeding their different children kick astir Peter is really a bully thing, since it’s “normal.”
By sharing their story, the Hernandez household said, they anticipation to rise consciousness for the Racine assemblage to heal from the calamity of Arkaydin’s decease and for Struebing’s situation.
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