Shannon Hori’s Little Miracle

MIAMI (CBS4) – On Monday, singer Celine Dion introduced her twins to the audience of Oprah. And then on CBS4 News at 5, I told my own miracle story of my twins.

Our fraternal twin boys are now 26-months-old. They were born on December 22, 2008 full-term and big for twins. Cade weighed 8 pounds 6 oz. and Colt weighed 6 pounds 14 oz. My family calls Colt our little miracle.

The day Colt was born, we were shocked to learn he had a rare congenital heart defect called TAPVR. None of the veins that take blood from the lungs to the heart were attached to the left atrium. Without immediate surgery, Colt wouldn’t survive.

Dr. Marco Ricci at Jackson’s Holtz Children’s Hospital performed the open heart surgery on Colt on Christmas Eve of 2008. My husband Kendall and I waited five excruciating hours to hear that the surgery was a success.

“When you think (the heart) is the size of a walnut, and veins the size of sewing thread and that’s what Dr. Ricci was looking at,” Kendall said, “to me, that’s just amazing.”

Our hearts ached to see our newborn baby on a bed attached to dozens of machines with wires everywhere.

Three weeks later, Colt was still in the pediatric intensive care unit when during a routine procedure, as I was holding his hand, he suddenly went into cardiac arrest. Thank goodness Dr. Ricci was nearby.

He got to Colt’s room within minutes and reopened his chest and manually pumped his heart to get it going again. It took 20 minutes, but Colt’s heart finally started beating again.

One month later, we were able to take Colt home and reunite him with his twin brother.

Before we had Colt we didn’t know much about congenital heart defects. But now we speak about them to raise awareness, including at a recent event at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Colt constantly amazes us with his determination. He works so hard to get stronger and Cade pushes him. The cardiac arrest weakened all the muscles in Colt’s body, so at Miami Children’s Hospital Doral Center Colt is in physical and occupational therapies.

He’s also in oral motor therapy to build up the strength in his mouth, and he also had a cleft palate and now wears hearing aids. Speech therapists are also working with him to improve his speech.

Colt, our little boy who loves horses and giving hugs, reminds us of what Helen Keller once said…”The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”


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