When Janell and her husband Matt welcomed their first child into the world, they had the perfect name selected: Serenity; to be serene, calm. For the short time she was with them, she brought much joy and smiles, though not necessarily tranquility.
Just hours after being born, Serenity’s doctor noticed the newborn had a heart murmur and ordered an echocardiogram, an ultrasound of Serenity’s heart, as a precaution. The day they were supposed go home with their beautiful baby girl, Janell and Matt were informed that Serenity had complete atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), a condition in which the walls between chambers of her heart were not formed properly. Serenity would need surgery by the time she was 4 months old or weighed 10 pounds, whichever came first.
“I was in shock,” Janell recalls, “We could not believe that we had to make an appointment with a cardiologist for our 2-day old baby. We felt so helpless.”
A Difficult Journey to Health
Serenity had her first open heart surgery at 4 months of age, another at 10 months. She had a better quality of life thanks to the repairs and was being continually monitored by her care team as she grew. Serenity also had other health conditions which made Janell and Matt’s lives as new parents challenging.
Throughout this, “We were just numb, treading water in every aspect just to stay afloat,” Janell remembers, “People asked if they could help but we didn’t know what to tell them to do for us.”
An Unknown Need is Met
Their family connected with Crescent Cove and began receiving support services in their home. Serenity receives Qigong energy healing. Janell and Matt get Qi~ssage to enhance the flow of energy in their bodies, reduce stress or pain and promote healing. Both Janell and Matt began to feel better able to cope, not so tired and overwhelmed.
“It was like the people at Crescent Cove knew exactly what we needed to get through these times,” Janell says.
An Unexpected End
Serenity’s parents did not know that Christmas of 2017 would be Serenity’s last. One of her gifts was learning that she was going to become a big sister, and the family celebrated a joyous holiday.
On New Year’s Day, Serenity began having difficulty breathing. Her parents were alarmed when her eyes rolled back in her head and they immediately rushed her to the emergency room. She had stopped breathing and doctors performed CPR to try to restore her heartbeat but were not successful. She was eventually put on a machine which breathed for her while they worked to discover what was wrong and how to help her.
Tests confirmed that Serenity had contracted influenza A. The care team did everything they could, but the damage done to her body was too great. On January 4, 2018, Serenity received her wings. She was 2 years, 4 months, and 24 days old.
Janell and Matt are grateful for the support that Crescent Cove provided during their time as Serenity’s parents, and wish for her story to continue to be told.
"Serenity life was short but powerful. She was beyond beautiful and brought so many smiles in to this world," Janell says, "Serenity will never be forgotten. Please never stop saying her name or telling her amazing story."