BookSpecial Heart

Special Heart Book

Special Heart

A Journey of Faith, Hope, Courage and Love

Special Heart is a deeply touching personal story told through the eyes of journalist Bret Baier as he and his wife face the most daunting challenge in life – caring for their critically ill son.

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Peek Inside The Book

Meeting Amy

Meeting Amy

Bret and Amy met on a blind date in October of 2002 after a mutual friend decided they would be the “perfect match.” Amy flew down from Chicago and they went to a Rolling Stones concert. The friend was right—Bret and Amy married two years later in October of 2004.

“For me, it was a Hollywood romance whirlwind weekend, and I had the time of my life. Safe to say, I was totally smitten, completely head over heels for Amy within the first five minutes of talking to her.”

Paul Baier, Born June 29, 2007

Paul Baier, Born June 29, 2007

Paul Baier was born June 29, 2007. He was given a clean bill of health in the first hours after his birth, but the next day, a nurse noticed Paul was turning pale. At first, doctors thought that Paul could have a bacterial infection of some kind, but an echocardiogram soon revealed that Paul had five serious congenital heart defects.

Paul Baier, Born June 29, 2007

Amy Rocks Baby Paulie

Without emergency surgery within days – he would die. Essentially, Paul’s heart was pumping the wrong way – his main arteries were switched around so his blood was not getting enough oxygen -his aorta was pinched – he had two holes in his heart – and his pulmonary artery was too narrow.

“And then Dr. Martin uttered the words that have played in my mind on a continual loop every day since: ‘if your son doesn’t have surgery within the next two weeks, he’s not going to make it.’ Immediately my mouth went completely dry. I didn’t know where my next breath would come from. Time stopped.”

Paul Baier, Born June 29, 2007

Rallying Around Baby Paulie’s Crib

Dr. Richard Jonas performed an eight hour open heart surgery on Paul when he was 12 days old. The “fix” included inserting what’s called a homograph – a donated baby aorta that connects Paul’s pulmonary artery with the right ventricle of his heart. The donated connector does not grow with him.

“As they prepared to take Paulie away, I could see that Amy was tensing up. I turned to her and said, ‘Time to turn him over now—to the doctors and the big Guy upstairs.’ Amy nodded. Dr. V. said he would take good care of Paulie. And he repeated what everyone had been telling us all week: ‘Paulie will be in good hands. Dr. Jonas is great!’”

Meeting Amy

Paul at Children’s for one of many Angioplasties

Since that time, Paul has also had seven angioplasties to open his arteries with stents and to clear the homograph… plus, a stomach surgery unrelated to his congenital heart defects.

“The last time I wrote an e-mail like this was for Paul’s seventh angioplasty in December. During the overnight stay after that, I was sleeping on the couch next to Paul’s bed. He woke up in the middle of the night, and out of the blue he asked me, ‘Daddy, why do I have to do all of these things? All of these heart-things-and my friends in school don’t have to do it?’ That question hung there in the air for a little while…and I scrambled to think.”

Meeting Amy

Special Report

In 2008 Brit Hume made the decision to step away from the Special Report anchor desk, and Roger Ailes asked Bret to take his place. Bret knew that no one in journalism could ever take Brit’s place, but he was incredibly humbled by the opportunity and the trust Roger placed in him by asking him to take the helm of the network’s flagship political show.

“And as we welcomed 2009 and the new responsibilities Amy and I had been entrusted with on the job and at home, amid all of the fireworks and celebration I could hear a still, small voice as it quietly whispered in my ear, ‘To whom much is given, of him will be much required.’”

Meeting Amy

3rd Open Heart Surgery / 5K Race

On September 19, 2013 Dr. Jonas performed a 3rd open heart surgery on Paul. On October 5, 2013 Paul participated in a 5k benefitting Children’s National Medical Center –walking most of the race by himself.

“And after a while I could see them in the distance walking up to the finish line, Paul proudly strolling and holding Amy’s hand. The woman on the microphone for Children’s saw Paul approaching, and over the loudspeaker she said, ‘Here comes Paul Baier—just seventeen days ago he had his third open-heart surgery at Children’s and today he’s crossing the finish line after walking 3.1 miles!’”

Meeting Amy

Bret and Amy at the Children’s Ball

Bret and Amy have spearheaded many fundraising efforts for Children’s National Medical Center. Bret has emceed the Children’s Ball since 2008, and both Bret and Amy are serving as co-chairs for the 2014 Children’s Ball. Bret and Amy also sit on the Children’s Hospital Foundation board.

“By the time of Paul’s third surgery, Amy and I had started helping Children’s with a few charitable events now and then. The folks at Children’s even asked me to MC the hospital’s annual fund-raising gala a few times, which I was thrilled to do… What other response could we possibly have to the people who gave us our son back and offered our entire family a new lease on life?”

Bret, Paul & Daniel Having a Good Time

Reporting on the Streets of Warduk, Afganistan

From 2001-2006 Bret served as national security correspondent for Fox News and reported on military and national security affairs, as well as on defense, military policy and the intelligence community from the Pentagon.

“Over the past five years I had made something like twenty-three trips to Afghanistan and Iraq and had many opportunities to meet some of the best, brightest, and bravest young people this nation has to offer. Talking to many of those soldiers who voluntarily and selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us has been a humbling and moving experience.”

Bret, Paul & Daniel Having a Good Time

Bret, Paul & Daniel Having a Good Time

Paul will have to have at least one more open heart surgery and other procedures in the catheter lab as he continues to grow. But, now – Paul is a very active and growing 6 year old boy. Thanks to Dr. Jonas and all of the doctors and nurses at Children’s National Medical Center – Paul is alive and thriving today.

“Paul may have more angioplasties (or tune-ups as his doctors call them). He may have another surgery eight to ten years from now, or if we’re lucky, technology may improve to a point that he might have indeed had his last open-heart surgery. Time will tell. But we’re not dwelling on all of that right now. We’re doing our best to focus on living and celebrating every smile!”

Reviews

“Love conquers all things, and for Bret Baier’s family, it helped heal his son’s special heart. This is a story you’ll never forget – about a child’s devastating medical diagnosis – and his parents’ courage to fight for their son and then give back to those who saved his life.”

Norah O’Donnell
Co-Host, CBS This Morning

“Nothing gives you perspective like a medical crisis affecting someone you love, especially a child. Bret’s personal journey through an earth shattering diagnosis and the triumph of faith, family and modern medicine is both harrowing and hopeful.”

Katie Couric
Host of Katie and Global Anchor, Yahoo

“Bret weaves an engaging love story around his son’s life and death struggle with congenital heart disease and gives hope to all as he chronicles the remarkable medical advances that saved his son.”

Mehmet Oz, M.D. Professor and Vice Chair
Surgery NYP/ Columbia University and Host of the The Dr. Oz Show

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