A Wetsuit

Back in March, when we went to the Great Wolf Lodge, I had a little reality check.  We were so excited to take Derrick to an indoor water park where the temperature was regulated at a toasty 84 degrees.  Derrick LOVES the water.  The problem is, other than at bath time, the water is usually too cold for our very slim, less-than-perfect-circulation little guy.

Derrick loved playing in the water, but after only a few minutes our little blueberry would be shivering and asking for a "towvel" because he was too cold.  I must admit that after wrapping him up over and over I couldn't help but look around at all the kids laughing and squealing and enjoying the water so much and not have a pang of jealousy...a little pity, and a lot of heartbreak.  I stood there holding D in his wet towel and had to hide my head because I couldn't stop the tears.  It wasn't fair that he couldn't even enjoy an indoor water park!

There are many things that we are well aware of that Derrick will not be able to do.  He won't be able to play football, run cross country (most likely), or play seriously competitive sports.  His heart won't let him.  We've known all of these things from the very first day we found out the details of his heart before he was born, and we can deal with that.  

No one ever told us about the difficulty he would have with regulating his body temperature.  A large part of that is probably due to his lack of body fat, but I'm sure some of it is because he has a much lower oxygen saturation than the "normal" person.  My boy LOVES the water.  We will have to tell him "no" to so many things, but to swimming too?  The one thing he really, really loves?  No way!

The first night we were at the Great Wolf we went out on a search.  Justin was determined that we could find a solution to the problem.  We searched every store that sold swimming or surfing gear and found nothing that would work for a 20lb kid.  One guy working in one of the stores, who was a surfer, tried so hard to help us.  We typically don't go around telling everyone all the details of Derrick and his heart unless it comes up for some reason because we don't want anyone feeling sorry for him.  He wanted to know why we were looking for a wetsuit for him (because we obviously don't fit the surfer "stereotype"), so we told him about D's heart.  You could see the pain in his eyes for our little D who loves the water so much, because this guy loved it too.  He gave us a lot of great ideas about how to get a suit for D and what to look for, and the search began.

As soon as we got home Justin got online and found a few options.  Not many of them were exactly what we were looking for (and we now had a lot of knowledge from the surfer guy we met), but there was one definite winner.  

Is this not the most adorable little wetsuit you've ever seen?!

It came from Buell Wetsuits and it is AWESOME!  Seriously, it has saved our summer! :)  In his wetsuit he doesn't get blue and shivery.  He doesn't ask to get out of the water...he gets ANGRY when he has to get out!  And it's super bright so you can spot him from anywhere.  It is perfection! 

Bring on the pool!!  :)



  1. What a great idea for him! I'm glad that you were able to find a solution for him so he can do what he loves this summer!!

  2. Oh Shannon! That is ADORABLE!!! Tell D that he looks like a little superhero! That thing will fit him for years the way you have the arms and legs rolled up! So cute!
    We, too, experienced that "warm" 84 degrees at Great Wolf --- not only Zach, but all of us were shhhhiverrrrrrring! Maybe when it's warmer outside things are better (we were there after Christmas), but Zach was a little blue, too!
    Glad you found a solution!
    Heart hugs,

  3. It's absolutely adorable! I'm so glad you found that. It is hard sometimes thinking about the opportunities that our children don't get because of their special hearts- as parents, we want our children to be able to do anything their little hearts desires and to know that we will have to say no to things that their friends are doing is difficult. We all have those moments- but look at you guys- you get out there and pro actively find a way to fix it! :) Have I mentioned what AMAZING parents you guys are? D (and Miss Jenny Kate) are lucky kiddos :)

  4. He is absolutely adorable in that suit. I'm so happy that he will get to be in the water without getting too cold..great job mom and dad!

  5. Great idea! You always come up with the solution to the problem...it may take some time, but you and Justin always do your homework and pass with flying colors. Love the bright colors and the comment about it looking like a super hero. Really neat that all you have to do is look for the neon in the pool and there your little D-Man will be! Love to all...take good care of you and your precious family

    Lois Simmons

  6. Wonderful Idea, he will set a trend. So glad you found a solution for him. Hope he has loads of fun swimming. Hugs Marilyn U

  7. This is awesome! We had that same experience at our favorite indoor pool, when their pool heater was inconveniently broken! Luke had to get out several times to dry off before heading back in. I really may invest in a wetsuit.

    Also, wanted to ask you about Jenny Kate's reflux. Did the doc put her on Zantac? Laney doesn't seem to be uncomfortable when she spits up, but I'm wondering if Jenny Kate's spit ups have lessened on the medication?

  8. Gosh, Shannon! I feel like this post was written for me too! The exact same thing happens to Andrew! He gets so cold and lips turn blue whenever we are swimming. In fact, while we were just at Wisconsin Dells it happened and he was pretty much ready to be done one of the days because he was so cold. :( I love the wet suit idea! I'll have to think about getting one for Andrew too! :) D looks super cute in his! :)

  9. I was thinking about Jen when I read this post too! Glad she read it!

    Sweet little D looks absolutely adorable in that wet suit! Glad you guys found it so he can have his fun in the pool too!!!

  10. That's fantastic! MC also turns pretty blue, but hasn't lately with the hot, hot weather! (Her nails are always purple, even post-Fontan.) I'm so glad you sent the website! Thanks!

  11. I love that wetsuit! It is adorable. I'm glad he can enjoy one of his most favorite activities without getting cold!