Story of Healing
East Baton Rouge Parish
Seven years ago when Matt and Erika Moscona were expecting their first baby, they had no idea the journey on which they were embarking.
During Erika’s pregnancy, her doctors discovered that baby Drew had a rare congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH), which occurs when there is a hole in the diaphragm. A few weeks later, her doctors then discovered that Drew had a rare heart condition. His heart has a very small chromosomal deletion, which led to Drew being diagnosed with an atrioventricular canal defect, or AVCD.
As Erika and Matt were visiting specialist after specialist and traveling hours back and forth from their home in Baton Rouge for those visits, it was hard to stay hopeful. Drew’s prognosis was not good, with mortality rates for babies with these rare conditions being very low.
But Drew’s parents never gave up. Every morning they said to each other, “Drew is healthy, Drew is here, Drew is coming home.”
Drew was born on July 18, 2014. Drew and his family spent over 200 days in the NICU at a hospital in Houston, with Drew having a surgery to repair his CDH and two open heart surgeries before he was five months old. “The doctors, nurses and staff in the NICU became our family, they were our lifelines during this time,” shared Drew’s mother, Erika.
Fast forward to February 2015 when Drew and his family were able to return home to Baton Rouge. Erika and Matt quickly realized that they needed doctors back home to continue caring for Drew. After all, they had ostensibly moved to Houston for Drew’s birth, treatment and surgeries. In fact, Matt, a sports reporter who hosts a daily drivetime radio show, had moved his recording studio to Houston with the blessing of his employer.
“It was actually another mom in the NICU whose little girl was also battling a heart condition who recommended Dr. Michael Brumund to us,” Erika remembered. “Dr. Brumund has cared for Drew since then; and, he’s really cared for our whole family. He’s just incredible.”
Drew’s condition requires constant and consistent care. He receives 30 syringes of medication per day and attends therapy six times per week. Drew visits Dr. Brumund at a Children’s Hospital satellite location in Baton Rouge regularly, and it’s something that Drew looks forward to each time.
“Drew is a people person, he can make such deep connections with those around him,” marveled Erika. “When I tell him we’re visiting Dr. Brumund in a couple weeks, he won’t stop talking about it! His eyes light up, he just becomes so excited!”
Despite significant cognitive delays that Drew has experienced as a result of his heart condition, he is a happy, energetic boy who loves to sing, spend time with his family, and he loves going to school. Drew is in his second year at St. Lillian Academy, a Baton Rouge school that specializes in children with communication and learning challenges.
Looking forward, Erika and Matt know that Drew’s condition will continue to require constant care and vigilance. “We have given our life to Drew’s care, his health, and his happiness,” says Erika. “And we will continue to do that, because that’s the only life we know.”
“Our journey has been grueling and depressing at times,” reflects Erika. “But I just think of all the good that’s come out of it. The people we’ve met, the support we’ve received, the care that Dr. Brumund and Children’s Hospital has given our family, it’s other-worldly. Our family has put our complete trust and faith in Dr. Brumund, and this whole experience has changed us forever.”
Click here to learn more about The Heart Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.