Parenting: What I Learned from a Little Heart

just kim little heart

My design philosophy revolves around comfort, function and aesthetics. I enjoy talking about design because I believe that good design can enhance all aspects of our life. But today, I will talk about another kind of inspiration. I will discuss how a decisive life event shaped me and the future of At Home with Kim Vallee.

I am new at writing about my personal life. So bare with me as I share with you the most important aspects of what happened to me over the last 12 months.

What Happened?

Since I am an entrepreneur, it is not surprising that I like to take charge of my destiny. One year ago, life threw at me a difficult situation for which I had, and still have, no control. We discovered that my baby would be born with a congenital heart defect during my 20-week ultrasound. At the time, the doctor thought that he might require a surgery in the first 12 to 24 months of his life. I accepted the situation with a relative peace of mind. The important thing was that my baby could live a normal life. I did not want to stress too much in fear to harm my baby during my pregnancy. I never anticipated that the road to recovery would take so long.

My next deception came when they told me that I would be separated from my baby right after delivery. We found out 6 weeks before my due date that my baby would be transferred right away to another hospital in preparation for an open heart surgery to be scheduled a few days later. I said bye-bye to my birth plan away. I had a C-section and stayed at the hospital for three days. Luckily, I was discharged from the hospital the night before his surgery. I rushed to his bed. I was happy and sad at the same time when I held him in my arms for the first time. Although it broke my heart when they brought him to the surgery room, I felt that it was better to have the surgery at birth since he was still unaware of his surroundings. What I did not know was that we would have to go through another surgery four months later.

I never anticipated that it would take 2 surgeries, several medical exams, a total of 40 days of hospital stays and then a cardiac catheterization to finally find a solution. At last, we received good news last Thursday. Seven months after Zack was born, my husband and I could celebrate, without fear, the birth of our son. For the occasion, we drank a Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne and ate sushi with our smiling baby sitting next to us. That felt good!

Inspired by My Son’s Courage

One thing that brought me comfort over the last 7 months is the easy going nature of my son. While he was recovering from his second surgery at the hospital, the nurses nicknamed him “Smiley baby”. He is adorable and was easy to take care of. If they did not closely monitor his condition, nobody would have guessed that he was sick.

A cardiology nurse that follows us since the beginning said something that made me proud on Friday. She mentioned that she could see that my son lives in a happy home because he is always joyful. I would add that he lives in a stylish and happy home. And it is fun that now I can embrace a new chapter of my/our life.

What I Learned Personally and for Work

Now that my son is fine, I can digest what I learned from this experience. I have even more confidence in my strength of character. Now that I have faced these events, I feel that I am better equipped to be a good mom. I realized that I have more patience that I ever imagined. This will come handy to raise him.

I also learned to let go, at least to let go a little. You totally rely on the judgements and expertise of others when you deal with a life-threatening illness. You can ask questions and seek explanations but, at the end, you have no choices but to accept the recommendations of the medical team because they are the ones with the skills and the know-how. Out of necessity, I started to delegate more than I used to, both at home and at work. This is a big deal since I am a perfectionist.

What’s Next?

I wish to pass time with my son while I carry on a successful career. This calls for a reorganization of my work and to, possibly, redefine my role in the business in light of where I want the brand to go. To help me with this transition, I had meetings with my advisors. After reviewing the core of my business, my talents and where is my passion, we came up with a more focused business plan. Since I am in control of my destiny, my revised business plan fits my new objectives and my lifestyle.

About “Just Me” and the Other New Series

Since I gave birth, I wondered how I could integrate a more conversational and opinionated side to At Home with Kim Vallee. You could blame this desire on the social isolation that all new moms experience.

Frankly, I think that becoming a mom forced me to reevaluate what I want from life. I looked at it from a personal and a professional levels. I had plenty of time to set my goals and to make a plan to achieve them in a timely fashion. Since I believe that I got the right foundation, I built upon the core values of my brand when I devised four new series. They are:

  • Just Me: conversations about finding time and doing things for myself, including how I maintain my own identity, how I deal with the work life balance, …
  • 5 Minute Martha: time-saving tips around the house or for entertaining
  • Happy Baby: parenting tips, experiences, family activities and must-have items
  • My Place: how I make my place work as a family home, a work place, etc…

The “5 Minute Martha” series simply brands my signature topic: stylish solutions that are quick are easy to do. Rest assured that you will continue to enjoy the content that you are used to since I launched my blog. I simply wish to extend the scope of the lifestyle component to complement the design inspirations I already provide you.

Just Kim is part of a new branded “Just Me” series that will explore how I find time for myself, how I fulfill my dreams, how I deal with work life balance issues, and what makes me happy in general. Since no approach fits all, I plan to interview other women to see how they do it. I hope that you will join me and enjoy this additional side of At Home with Kim Vallee.

  • Fiona Richards
    October 25, 2011 at 13:46

    You are a star!
    You are managing all the aspects of your life with style and grace – something that most woman only hope to achieve. I’m looking forward to reading more “Just Me” posts. I’m quite sure that if we lived closer we would be friends Kim!
    Hurrah to you and your family!

  • Aurélie
    October 25, 2011 at 14:39


    C’est un très beau billet que tu nous livres ici!
    Merci de ce partage et longue vie à ce blogue, ta vie d’entrepreneure et ta famille!

  • Cathe
    October 25, 2011 at 20:01

    Kim, what a beautiful happy smiling baby boy Zack is! I love the direction that you are taking with the site.

    Having children sure puts things into perspective. Thank you for sharing your incredible story!

  • Aimee
    October 25, 2011 at 22:44

    Thanks for sharing your heart and plans 🙂

  • Angela ruan
    October 26, 2011 at 00:12

    Take care.. Child are bless by god.. 🙂

  • Isabel
    October 26, 2011 at 09:48

    What a moving and touching message. I look at each of your posts, find some inspiration and ideas in many of them. Thanks for sharing also your personal life. I think that from the moment we become a mom, it will define our life for the rest of it. All the rest, as important as it is, will then become a part of our mom’s life 🙂 Have a wonderful family and professional life 😉

  • Kelly Tirman
    October 26, 2011 at 09:58

    Thanks for sharing.I look forward to reading the 4 different series.

  • Jennifer Henderson
    October 26, 2011 at 14:36

    What a beautifully inspirational post. Thank you for sharing and congratulations to you and your husband on getting through a very tough time. Zack has already got such an amazing start in life by being lucky enough to be born into a caring, loving family.

    I look forward to reading more of your great posts. xx

  • Fanfan
    October 27, 2011 at 08:53

    Quel bonheur de partager notre vie avec ces etres merveilleux que sont nos enfants.Laissons nous entrainer par leur joie de vivre, leur beaute et la sagesse de leur petit coeur.

  • Kristine
    October 28, 2011 at 14:34

    Heart babies are something else aren’t they? So inspiring. Your son is my hero. I found your blog through a Google alert for congenital heart defects, and am now a follower. Proud mom to CHD baby Cora. -Kristine

    • Kim
      October 29, 2011 at 11:57

      Kristine, I just read your moving story. You share it with grace and provide useful information for parents who lost a baby. I feel lucky that the CHD of my baby was defected early on and that it was treatable. I am glad that you like my site.

  • maria b
    October 30, 2011 at 06:04

    thanks for sharing, i´m your follower, best wishes

  • Gretchen
    October 30, 2011 at 15:15

    Kim, it’s been a while since I visited your site. I, too, experienced a life speed bump this year when I found out that I was pregnant for the first time at 45. My 2nd prenatal visit brought the 1st of what would seem like an unending round of bad news regarding my unborn son. He too had a heart defect. After a lengthy hospital for me, he was born at 34 weeks and only lived 11 1/2 weeks. He was in our local children’s hospital until his death a little over a month ago, but I have no regrets and learned so many lessons from that little fighter. Just reading your story made me smile and appreciate my experience even more. No we did not have the happy ending that we hoped for but the journey made us stronger and better people for having that little one be part of our lives for 2 1/2 months. I look forward to reading the new series and learning even more. Thanks for sharing your journey thus far and your heart.

    • Kim
      November 2, 2011 at 23:15

      Gretchen, it broke my heart to read what happened to your son. I salute your strength and courage.

  • Diane Bourque
    October 30, 2011 at 15:49

    This is such a nice post to read. You are a mentor – that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing this most-touching and inspiring story.

  • Pamela
    November 2, 2011 at 01:08

    I am a first time mother as well. You’re son is a brave angel. Blessings to your family.

  • Kim
    November 2, 2011 at 23:00

    I want to say a huge thank to everyone for your support and your testimonials. Your kind comments touched my husband and I. I am so relieved that our son is doing well.

  • Karine
    November 2, 2011 at 23:16

    Dear Kim,

    I would like to thank you for such an honest post. Je vous souhaite à vous et à votre petite famille, de tendres et mémorables moments.