Heart Warrior Blakelyn
Meet Heart Warrior Blake:
Blakelyn Emerson O’Reilly - the driving force behind Brooke and Blake Inc. to raise awareness and help giveback to CHEO Hospital; the place we called home for the greater part of her first year of life.
Read her story...
It was Feb 28th, 2020, when our worlds collided. We had a cardiac ultrasound scheduled at CHEO hospital where we met with a team of cardiologists, only to be told that our baby girl’s heart had not developed properly. The risks were high and knew that she would require multiple surgeries, the first only days after she was born. Over the next 4 months, we planned for a different journey into parenthood, managing the tidal wave of emotions.
On June 23rd, 2020, all that fear washed away as our beautiful baby girl filled our hearts with love & hope.
She underwent her first cardiac surgery at just 7 days old for a life threatening condition called Coarctation of the Aortic Arch - where blood from the heart couldn't make it's way to the rest of her body.
A long and tough recovery involving endless blood work,
xrays, ultrasounds, scopes, echocardiograms & tests, later became more complicated when respiratory issues emerged. This lead to 24/7 CPAP, followed by over a month of intubation and extreme sedation. This later got diagnosed as tracheobronchomalacia - a condition where her airway collapses on each breathe. We made the tough decision to move forward with a tracheostomy. This turned out to be the best decision we could have made, not only for her safety but also for her development. Finally, her beautiful face was free of tubes and wires.
By 6 months of age, we walked into her second cardiac surgery (Atrial Septal Defect) to repair a few of the major holes in her heart. The team anticipated a tough recovery but she surprised us all, coming out of this surgery stronger than ever before, and the words “HOME” were mentioned for the first time in what feels like forever.
Home life looked a little different for Blakelyn than most. Our days were spent on and off to ventilator, we had a long list of daily medications, and her feeds were administered through a tube in her stomach.
After a few challenging but beautiful months at home, we walked into her third open heart surgery at 11 months old. Another speedy recovery allowed us to return home quicker than anticipated and get back to living our best life. It took time, but as the months progressed, we normalized our life at home; slowly getting rid of medications, getting off a 24/7 ventilator and progressing with oral feeding. Blakelyn was finally getting to experience a snapshot of what living like a 'baby' should be like.
Our life has completely transformed since the summer of 2020-2021. Every day, Blakelyn gets stronger and closer to living a 'normal' life.
We still have a long road ahead, with but this girl has shown up each day ready to fight, and shown us that there’s nothing she can’t overcome.
This isn’t the journey we expected as 1st time parents, but because of her, we are stronger. Every day we wake up feeling blessed for the gift we call our daughter.
With this, we Thank You...
- For being a part of this journey
- For your love and prayers
- For helping us giveback to such an incredible cause
Without you, our mission wouldn't be possible.
#chdawareness #chdwarrior #tracheostomy