Michelle and Sean live on Oahu with their daughter Riley (1 y.o). When Riley was just 8 hours old, Sean noticed Riley was looking purplish, so she taken in for testing. Her parents’ world was turned upside down when they learned that she had Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), a serious heart condition, and needed immediate open-heart surgery that could not be done in Hawaii.
At 3-days old, Riley underwent the procedure in San Diego accompanied by her dad as Michelle was frantically awaiting updates back in Hawaii. Fortunately Riley’s heart surgery was successful and the next night Michelle arrived in San Diego. The next three weeks were spent in a blur, with baby Riley fiercely battling the road to recovery, every tube and line removal was a celebration. Their days and nights were full of pumping, feeding, treatments, medication, doctor’s appointments, tests and procedures. It was challenging for them to be away from family and friends and navigating these unchartered waters alone, but they were 100% focused on supporting Riley’s recovery and bringing her home healthy.
“Riley just celebrated first birthday recently, and we are so thankful for the outpouring of love and support we received especially those scary first few weeks,” said Michelle. “A social worker at Kapiolani Hospital suggested we sign up for HUGS and the next thing I know we’re receiving phone call check-ins from the HUGS team in our darkest times. It was like a warm hug when we needed it the most.”
“Even during times of isolation and physical distance in San Diego, we felt so incredibly loved and supported by our family, friends, and community. We are forever grateful for the love, prayers, generosity, and compassion we received. Riley has taught us to be resilient, faithful, and to not take anything for granted. Today, she is healthy, happy, smart, silly and the light of our lives!”
“Mahalo to HUGS for your support, check-ins and providing opportunities to connect with other families like ours. It was a blessing to attend a Mom’s Night and for the first time, to meet many other moms on a similar journey. We are not alone.”