Seeing Past the Hospital Doors

Flashback 1999. Stamps were a quarter, gas was a dollar, and the life expectancy of a healthy person was 75.4 years. This was the year that created a bond in two families lives that will last forever. It was the year that Allie and Logan were born into the terrifying world of CHD.

Allie and Logan were roommates in the Cardiac ICU of Boston Children's Hospital; miracles who were fighting for their lives. Both Allie, with complex Tetralogy of Fallot, and Logan, with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, underwent two of their three individual open-heart surgeries during this first stay. An inevitable bond grew between the two families, especially between moms Amy and Elizabeth, who spent every available moment at the bedsides of their heart warriors. Together they learned about CHD, talked about CHD, talked about care, and about life in general, all the while not really knowing for sure if either of them would leave the hospital with their baby. Some days were more difficult than others and there were multiple setbacks for both kids. Remember, it was 1999; technology has come a very long way since then. These moms found a way to hang in there through it all and actually became spies for each others children. Many times when Allie was "crashing" and Amy was ushered out of the room, Elizabeth would sit by Logan's bedside and report back to Amy what was going on with Allie. Likewise, during the times when Logan was "crashing" and Elizabeth was ushered out, Amy would sit with Allie and report back to Elizabeth what was going on with Logan.

It was such a rough road for both Allie and Logan and it was a very real possibility to both families that their babies might not leave the hospital. Looking back, there were many times when it was hard to even begin to envision a life beyond the beeps and alarms of the cardiac intensive care unit. Allie and Logan kept fighting, however, and each day brought new hope, new advancements, and healing. Things started to look bright and eventually both families were finally released to start living a life outside hospital walls. Allie stayed in Massachusetts, while Logan went back to North Carolina. The families remained in touch throughout the years. Elizabeth was even a bridesmaid in Amy's wedding! Allie and Logan thankfully do not remember much about their hospital stays, but they did get to know each other through social media. Using Facebook and Instagram, Allie and Logan formed a great friendship. In February 2016, after learning Allie would not have a prom at her school, Logan mailed a package to Allie and inside the box was a build-a-bear named "Boston Heart." When you pressed the bear's paw, you heard Logan's voice, with an adorable southern accent said: "Hi Allie, it's me Logan. I know we haven't seen each other in a while, but it would do my HEART good if you would go to prom with me in April." Allie of course said YES and the family made arrangements to drive the 15 hours each way from Massachusetts to North Carolina to watch these two medical miracles dance the night away. Amy and Allie both feel it was well worth the drive and it was also fun to reunite two heart moms who enjoyed a night of ribs and catching up!

If you had told mom Amy almost 17 years ago that this would be the eventual outcome of Allie and Logan's situation, she just wouldn't have believed it. "These kids were very VERY sick" and to watch them hit a major milestone and create such an amazing positive memory together was nothing short of the miracle they have already proved they are.

Elizabeth agrees and said "It just felt like a triumph... "When you have a kid [with a serious heart condition], you don't picture the future. For those two kids to be able to [go to prom together] was like an exclamation point on a long, long story."

CHD often robs families of the ability to think ahead and sometimes even robs families of amazing gifts. Allie and Logan still deal with the roller coaster of CHD, but nobody understands what each of them deals with like they each do. The same is true for Elizabeth and Amy. According to Amy, "nobody understands you like a fellow heart mom... Elizabeth has seen me through my absolute worst -- when I almost lost my child...and my absolute best, when I got married 13 years ago."

As for Allie and Logan... they have vowed to stay in touch forever as they truly understand what a unique connection and friendship they have.