Thursday, 11 June 2015

Taking a Cardiac Baby swimming


You may have noticed Martha Grace wearing a red wetsuit in our Center Parcs photo's. No it isn't to hide her scar, and no it's not a floatation device - it's job is to keep Martha warm when in the water.

We've been members of the Heartline charity ever since I was pregnant with Martha, every quarter we receive a magazine filled with the inspirational stories of other Heart Warrior's journey's.

As well have running an online forum and a closed Facebook group offering support to Heart Families like mine, there are several other benefits to becoming Heartline Members.

Caravan Holidays - Heartline has two caravan holiday homes for our registered families to use when their
heart child can be included in the stay. One is at Golden Sands Park, Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire and the other is at Oakdene Forest Park in the New Forest.

Heart Children Book - For the past 25 years the Heart Children book has guided parents and families through the heart condition that children may be born with or acquire, the treatments available, and how to deal with the many medical and social problems that they may have to face.  The new edition has been written by parents, nurses, doctors and counsellors. This fourth edition of the book has attempted to keep pace with the many innovations in the field of pediatric cardiology, which are now preserving the lives that would have been lost a short generation ago. As well as answering many questions such as when can an unmarried father consent to his child’s treatment, it distils much of the practical knowledge developed in the kitchens, bathrooms and children’s bedrooms by parents struggling with children who won’t eat, sleep, or take their medicine, explaining where to get help, or at the very least empathy. This book was our bible while I was pregnant with Martha Grace.

Discounted Medic Alert - Should your child need medical attention when you are not around, you may want to make sure that a clinician finds out about a hidden condition or treatment – such as a pacemaker or anticoagulant medicine.  For Heartline families discounts are available to help towards the cost of Medic Alert bracelets or pendants where your child needs this protection.

Wetsuit - At the beginning of the year I applied for Martha Grace to have a Wetsuit so that we could take her swimming when we went away, and hopefully she could play in the paddling pool in the garden in the summer. The wetsuits are provided free of charge to Heart Children and as they grow they can request a new one. Hazel explains why they provide this service;

"Many heart children have not been able to enjoy playing or exercising in water.  This is sometimes because their poor circulations cause them quickly to become cold even in heated pools.  There are a variety of medical consequences of heart conditions that lead to this lack of control of their body temperature. In CHD the heart is already working harder to maintain sufficient oxygenation and the body’s core temperature. The cooling effect of water increases the effort needed.  Often the child will feel uncomfortably cold with shivering and blueness after only a few minutes in even warm water. And sometimes parents think their child is not ‘allowed’ to play in water because of their heart condition. Swimming is exercise heart children can benefit from and (just as important) enjoy, even those too breathless for physical games, or on medication that excludes them from contact sports.

Some children are very conscious of their scars from open heart surgery that make them different and so reluctant to remove their clothes in front of others. The provision of a wetsuit gives them a freedom to participate in physical and social activities they would not otherwise have, even just having fun on the beach if not swimming or paddling in the sea. Careful exercise may improve their medical condition and certainly assists in helping them combat infectious illnesses."


If you are a Heart Parent please visit Heartline for more information.

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