This topic has been kept quiet for some time now. We haven’t talked about it because honestly, people can be overwhelming when such big news is shared. But since we have had time to soak it in and prepare ourselves, we are ready to tell everyone.
Harper will be having heart surgery.
Y’all those words are scary to hear. But we are excited. Seriously, we cannot wait! We met with one of the best pediatric cardiovascular heart surgeons in the country and he is very optimistic that fixing Harper’s heart will dramatically improve her quality of life.
Harper has 3 VSDs, 1 ASD, and a PDA.
VSD: Ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart.
- A ventricular septal defect can allow newly oxygenated blood to flow from the left ventricle, where the pressures are higher, to the right ventricle, where the pressures are lower, and mix with unoxygenated blood. The mixed blood in the right ventricle flows back or recirculates into the lungs. This means that the right and left ventricles are working harder, pumping a greater volume of blood than they normally would.
ASD: Atrial Septal Defect is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper filling chambers of the heart (the atria).
- In an atrial septal defect, there’s an opening in the wall (septum) between the atria. As a result, some oxygenated blood from the left atrium flows through the hole in the septum into the right atrium, where it mixes with oxygen-poor blood and increases the total amount of blood that flows toward the lungs.
PDA: Patent ductus arteriosus is a persistent opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart.
- Normally the heart’s left side only pumps blood to the body, and the right side only pumps blood to the lungs. In a child with PDA, extra blood gets pumped from the body artery (aorta) into the lung (pulmonary) arteries. If the PDA is large, the extra blood being pumped into the lung arteries makes the heart and lungs work harder and the lungs can become congested.
Harper’s doctors originally thought that her heart would fix own its own. If her heart was not healed by the time she was a toddler, then we would consider heart surgery then. Well, Harper has been hospitalized three times in the past six weeks for a cold. While that might be very true, her doctors believe her heart is the reason behind it. As Harper gets bigger, her heart is trying to keep up, which means it has to pump harder. When Harper was about a month old, the doctors realized that she needed a medication (Lasix) to reduce the amount of fluid running through her heart. Back then she was taking 0.3 mLs – once a day. Now, she is at 0.5 mLs – three times a day, which is pretty big difference.
Harper’s heart surgery will be scheduled sometime after the first of the new year. Once we have the date, we will announce it on Harper’s Facebook page – so make sure you follow us there.
The cardiac surgeon will completely repair Harper’s heart. Harper will have open heart surgery and be placed on bypass. The surgery will take about 7-8 hours. Recovery time in the hospital will be about two weeks. The hospital that the surgery will take place at is an hour away from home, so the cardiac surgeon has asked us to stay in the same city for an additional two weeks that way we are close by just in case anything were to happen.
With that being said, Dillon and I have decided to start a Go Fund Me page to help out with medical, travel, and living expenses during that time. Dillon will be taking off a week of work during the time of surgery. When he returns to work, he will continue to make the hour drive to come to the hospital.
If you would like to make a donation, click here. Any amount is greatly appreciated and we thank you for your donation.
Between now and surgery day, Harper needs to stay healthy: no fevers, no viruses, no infections. Her heart needs to be as strong and as healthy as it can possibly be on surgery day.
Yes, we are terrified and scared for this day to come. But we are also excited and incredibly ready to see Harper grow after her big day.