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Heather van Mil6 comments5546 views
Adri's Story: Birth & Congenital Heart Defect Diagnosis

Each year around this time people’s thoughts are most often occupied with expressions of love. Love for partners, love for family, love for children. “Love” for the 23 kids in your child’s class that you stay up all night making valentines and decorating cupcakes for. 

Expressions of love around our house usually look a little different. Of course my husband and I exchange small gifts, and I do slave over a hot stove for my daughter’s school, but most of our focus is on something else. Most of our focus is on remembering this time 6 years ago when our daughter was recovering from open heart surgery, having been born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). Most of our focus is on sharing our story and raising awareness. February 7th – 14th is CHD Awareness Week, and my husband and I decided to do something a bit out of the box this year, so we recorded this version of Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years Pt 2. It’s a hugely popular, well known song, so do me a favour. Forget any movie or pop culture associations you might have with this song. Close your eyes and imagine your first baby has just been born. All of the visions you had of first snuggles, photos and nursing have been unexpectedly taken away, as has your baby. You don’t know what’s wrong. The doctors don’t know what’s wrong. Your baby is moved to another hospital and you learn days later that she’ll need to have open heart surgery. You don’t know how to be a typical parent, forget about a parent to a child with a critical illness. This is the lens through which we heard these lyrics and relived our daughter’s journey. 

We’re not professional singers, and this is most definitely not a professional recording. It’s an expression of love for our daughter. It’s an expression of solidarity for the millions of other families who have similar stories. It’s a message of awareness for everyone who is unaware of what CHD is and how it affects so many. How devastating it can be. 

I hope you enjoy. Please share far and wide and help us raise awareness for the 1 in 100 babies born with congenital heart defects. 

*WARNING* This video contains graphic medical images that some may find disturbing. 

To read more about Adri’s journey, click here.


  1. I somehow missed the paragraph that said this was you singing… it sounded so calming, loving… it really is incredible. I am so grateful for where we live, for what modern medicine provides for our children. I am so glad your little one is a fighter. Thank you for sharing your story!

    1. Thanks Tara. I am reminded on a regular basis how lucky we are to have access to the medical care that we do. So many in Adri’s situation don’t have the same quality of life, or even survive at all just because of where they were born!

  2. That was so beautiful! As a mama with a CHD, who went through surgery at a young age, it was amazing to see this and what a touching tribute to your lives together so far! I’ve gone on to have 2 healthy babies, with absolutely no cardiac issues, so rest assured…..your daughter is in amazing hands in BC! Thanks for sharing!

  3. That was such a touching video and so sweet to hear your voices in harmony, mingling all the tender love you both have for your beautiful daughter. Thank-you so much for sharing and you have an amazing voice!!

    1. Thank-you so much for your kind words Janna, it was a big step outside my comfort zone (hubby’s an old hat at it), but I’m so glad we did it!!

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