Charlotte Tang Jia En, 2-years-old
“Our advice to all parents who may be in similar situations — take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your babies.”


My daughter was two-months-old when we found out that she was not gaining weight. No matter what we fed her, she just wouldn’t gain weight. We also noticed something different about the way she was breathing, but we thought she was having a flu. We had no idea what was going on so we took her to the doctor.

At first, the doctor said she had a slight flu and couldn’t really hear her breathing. A week later, the flu subsided but her breathing was still irregular. So we went for a second opinion.

The doctor was checking her and said her lungs were clear but when Charlotte’s heartbeat was calculated, she said it was not normal and there were murmurs. That was when it was suspected Charlotte may have a hole in her heart.


We were so shocked to learn this. We quickly called Charlotte’s other pediatrician and rushed to the clinic for another opinion. He checked her and he too heard the murmur. We were hoping and praying that it’s a small matter because if the hole is small, there is a chance it could close by itself.

Our daughter’s case turned out to be very serious. It was confirmed she had a big hole in her heart and there was no way it would close by itself without surgery. We were told that she was working very hard to survive because the blood was not giving her enough oxygen and that was why she was not gaining weight. As first time parents, that was when we broke down.

Charlotte was only 6-months-old when she had her surgery. On the day of her operation, we remember feeling anxious and numb all at once. The surgery took five hours. It was a very stressful time but we were comforted by the patience and care of the doctors and staff.


Charlotte is strong because after she came out from surgery and woke up, she started playing with the nurses and looked very healthy. The doctor even said she could be moved to a normal ward.

During this whole time we needed to be strong for her. As her mother, I needed to prepare myself because I knew she would be able to sense what I would be feeling, and I knew she would be feeding off my strength. That’s my advice to all parents who may be in similar situations — take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your babies. Also don’t listen to anyone who is not a doctor, and get insurance while you’re pregnant, you’ll never know what will happen. I thought ‘What are the odds?’ but I’m glad I got insurance.

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