Our son, Finn Michael Federer, was born on September 26th, 2012. When he was 4 ½ weeks old, we learned that he had a heart condition called aortopulmonary window. Aortopulmonary window is a rare heart defect (about 1 in 20,000) in which there is a hole connecting the major artery taking blood from the heart to the body (the aorta) and the one taking blood from the heart to the lungs (pulmonary artery). The condition occurs when the aorta and pulmonary artery do not divide normally as the baby develops in the womb. Because of this hole, blood from the aorta flows into the pulmonary artery, and too much blood flows to the lungs. This causes high blood pressure in the lungs and heart failure. The condition is not typically noticed until 4-6 weeks of age. Thankfully, it is well known enough that there is a fix via open heart surgery. Without modern medicine, he would not have survived past his first birthday. He was given a new life! Finn was flown via life flight out of Seward on October 26th to the Providence Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Anchorage, and then to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford in California via medical jet on the 28th. He had open heart surgery on November 2nd. He did very well after the surgery and we were released from the hospital on the 7th. We have family that lives near the hospital and so we decided to stay close during the healing process. We finally arrived back home in Seward on the 28th. Because this was caught early on, there should be no lasting effects, except for that beautiful “badge of honor” scar that makes for a pretty cool story!
We are truly overwhelmed by the outpour of love and support that our family received from so many people!! First, we thank the medical experts and support staff at Providence in both Seward and Anchorage, and at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. We also thank the medical experts and pilots for the helicopter and jet flights. They were all amazing and we are so thankful for these professionals and the dedication in their lives to taking care of others. We are also truly grateful for our families and the love and support they gave while we were at the hospital. Grandpa and both Grandma’s flew in from out of town to help out with Alma (our 2 ½ year old) and to support us, and my brother and sister-in-law, Chris and Susy who have a home near Stanford, opened up their home to us all and provided support. Finally, we are so thankful for the love and support from our community in Seward (and Alaska in general) as well as our family and friend support from many other states. We would like to thank so many people for so many things such as the “Fun Night for Finn ~ Casino” benefit and all the kind businesses and people who donated auction items and their time and/or money to help with the event (and even some friends who auctioned via Skype!!), friends and family who made contributions to an account to help with our expenses, the “Turkey Fun Run for the Federer’s” benefit and all the brave souls that came out on that cold and windy day (!), donation of leave hours from so many co-workers, the “kind hands rainbow” by the Seeds of Faith preschoolers, friends who helped care for Alma and gave her the first ever multi-night sleepover while we were in Anchorage, the gift cards that were sent so that we could treat ourselves to food and supplies outside the hospital, the sweet get well messages, prayers, cards, flowers, food, etc. from countless people, and more. WOW! We cannot believe how many people have supported our family through this most difficult journey and are truly grateful to live in such an amazing community. You are all wonderful people and I cannot emphasize how thankful we are for everyone’s love and support. We feel so loved.
It is good to be home and settling back in. Thank you all so much.
Love, the Federer Family (Terry, Rebekka, Alma, and Finn)