The bed-time routine in the Hammond household includes Brittany and Walt reading a book or two … or three … to Deacon and big sister Olivia, followed by prayers.
By the time Deacon Hammond of Bryan, TX, arrived into the world on Oct. 10, 2016, his CaringBridge site had been up for three months and visited thousands of times.
Deacon’s mom, Brittany, launched the site after she and husband, Walt, learned halfway through Brittany’s pregnancy that their baby would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a rare and serious congenital heart defect.
Close friends of Brittany and Walt’s connected them to another couple whose daughter had also been born with a congenital heart condition—and is doing great. “I was very, very grateful to have a mentor of a ‘heart mom,'” Brittany said. “It was tremendous to get the insight and the guidance they had for us. It was Staci who told us to start a CaringBridge site.”
Brittany used CaringBridge to help educate family and friends about HLHS—passing along what she and Walt were learning, in crash-course fashion, as they prepared for Deacon’s arrival, after which he would require immediate medical interventions.
And she used CaringBridge to ask for prayers of healing. Brittany and Walt, who comes from a long line of pastors, have a strong faith and belief in the power of prayer. And this was a time when prayers were needed.
In Deacon’s first days, the couple asked for specific prayers: to make the doctors’ hands steady; that Deacon’s lungs would be strong enough for surgery; for their 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Olivia, being cared for by her grandparents.
Brittany said, “CaringBridge allowed us to have a very large network, even beyond our immediate family and friends. We were able to keep many, many parties all over the world updated on what was going on with our little guy, especially at times of real need and concern. We had lots of prayers being said, all at once.”
Although Deacon’s health journey continues—with two of three planned surgeries behind him, and possibly a future heart transplant—his parents said their prayers have nonetheless been answered.
“Deacon is 2 now, and while he may not actually physically have a whole heart, he is whole,” Brittany said. “He is a whole spirit and a whole person, and he’s full of life, maybe even more than some healthy-heart people. It’s amazing to see.”
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