Illinois parents document emotional journey after learning of unborn baby’s heart defect

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A videographer documenting his wife’s pregnancy captured much more than he expected. Sarah and Aaron Wright found out that their son would be born with a congenital heart defect. Their journey is an emotional rollercoaster and now it is available for the world to see. The video was shared by SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital’s heart program.

Anna, Illinois native Aaron Wright’s video starts with a surprise pregnancy announcement to their families. The happy day was followed by a gender reveal. The couple was about to have a baby boy.

They found out the unborn child was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. As the baby develops during pregnancy, the left side of the heart does not form correctly.

Rowan was born on January 18, 2021 at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. One week later he was transferred to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for surgery.

The couple appears around the 4:15 mark in the video with tears in their eyes. Aaron filmed Sarah and himself in Rowan’s empty room at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, as he was sent back for surgery.

“Everyone is praying for Rowan – we know he belongs to God, he doesn’t belong to us,” Aaron said. “We’re trusting our Lord in this,” Sarah added.

Rowan’s second, and largest, open heart operation at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in July. He was able to go home 10 days after surgery but remained on oxygen for a month.

An update to the Facebook group about Rowan’s journey says: “This guy is absolutely incredible! He has remained off oxygen except for one episode a couple weeks ago. He’s growing, gaining weight, and seems like he’s developing at an astonishing rate. His latest, heart melting, thing is that he is starting to reach for people. It’s not quite a two handed please pick me up, but rather a one handed the power of Christ compels you/ jedi force pull. But it’s still awesome! Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.He still needs to learn to sleep without us holding or touching him, which is difficult for us to teach him because we can’t let him cry for long periods like a person might normally if they were trying to wean a child from something.”

Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital says that Rowan will need to come back later this year for another surgery to expand his aorta. It is still too small.

The team at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital will continue to monitor his health. They believe that he will grow up to live a happy and healthy life.