Erin Terry and Ricky McCann with their baby boy, Gavin, at the America Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk in Plattsburgh.
PLATTSBURGH — News Erin Terry was pregnant arrived unexpectedly, but she and her fiancé, Ricky McCann, were ecstatic.
When they learned they were having a boy, they named him Gavin.
When they discovered Gavin had severe heart issues that would eventually send them to Boston Children’s Hospital, the couple didn’t know what to do.
This past weekend, they shared their story at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk in Plattsburgh. The annual event drew more than 1,500 walkers.
“Every day, the American Heart Association is saving lives through research,” said Event Chair PJ Whitbeck of Coldwell Banker/Whitbeck Associates. “I feel responsible as a business owner to promote healthy living, not only to my clients but also my community.”
The American Heart Association’s My Heart, My Life, is a comprehensive new health, wellness and fitness platform to empower Americans to get healthier. It enhances the Association’s 20-year goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.
The Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway and Jenny Craig and locally by Schonbek/Swarvoski, Parker Chevrolet, Fujitsu, Mountain Valley Integrated Solutions, Community Bank, Chartwells, Transamerica, FOX44, Star 92.9 and the Press-Republican.
Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease and stroke are America’s number one and number four killers, respectively, and the Association funds cutting-edge research, conducts public and professional educational programs, and advocates to protect public health.
Terry was at her 32-week checkup when doctors focused on the baby’s heart, discovering a critical pulmonary stenosis, large ventricle and tricuspid murmur.
Worry and anger gripped Terry as she wondered what would happen to her baby, whether she had done something wrong and why this was happening to her family.
Shock overtook her and once she reached the car she let go and sobbed.
“It was the worst day of my life.”
She was sent to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont and monitored three days weekly through sonograms.
“They wanted to make sure there was no swelling around the heart and no fluids.”
Doctors eventually sent her to Boston Children’s Hospital.
“I don’t know how I got through my pregnancy,” Terry said. “I pretended there was nothing wrong.”
She was eventually induced at Brigham and Women’s in Boston, where Gavin would be delivered through a C-section.
“It wasn’t planned.”
Once he was delivered Terry listened for his crying, some sort of sound, but there was only silence, and she began to panic.
Then, Gavin, at 8 pounds, 15 ounces, began to cry on April 11 at 3:59 a.m. and even peed on the doctor.
“I don’t remember much but kissing him on the cheek.”
But the couple was not in the clear, and eight hours later Gavin underwent a balloon stint procedure.
Today, his heart is not much stronger, but it works, though the problems with it will always affect him and he may need further surgeries.
“We race to the doctor when his hands and feet turn blue,” Terry said.
Ricky McCann tries to block concerns about his son’s heart from his mind, but it’s impossible.
“When I see his smiling face, the worry goes away.”