Monday, February 13, 2012

CHD Awareness Week Day Seven: Annabelle's Life

Today is the seventh day of CHD Awareness Week. For the seventh day I will be feature Miss Krista and her amazing daughter Annabelle @ One Woman's Dream.


I first started reading Krista's blog in March 2010, almost two years ago. I think that Krista is a very strong mother to have her youngest be diagnosed with CHD. She has gone through so much with her little one and in just under two years! Krista has four children total: Karalynn, Lacy, Gabriella, and Annabelle. Annabelle has CHD, specifically a variation of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome called Atrioventricular Septal Defect.

Atrioventricular Septal Defect: A failure of any of the tissues that help divide the chambers, leaving one or more "holes" and possibly one leaky valve instead of two developed valves.

I plan on only sharing a brief medical history on Annabelle and her condition, but that is simply because I urge you to check out her blog out!


Annabelle was diagnosed with AVSD when Krista was 26 weeks pregnant. Annabelle was born July 20, 2010. She had her first surgery, the Norwood, at six days old on July 26, 2010. She was recovering okay, with only a few small hiccups 2 nights after the surgery and once in September. She was having issues being extubated and they had to continually put her back on the ventilator. In October 2010, the doctors decided that this issue might be because of a leaky valve and so they scheduled her for her Glenn surgery early. Unfortunately when she was taken back to the OR for the surgery, her O2 stats dropped so they decided to change her shunt to a bigger one. After several tries, Annabelle successfully came off the ventilator. In December 2010, because of severe reflux and an inability to eat by mouth due to fear of aspiration, she had a Nissen/GTube surgery as well. They were finally sent home for the first time on Christmas Eve, but she came back shortly afterward because of a high fever. A week later, Annabelle had a heart-cath, then she was set to go home again. This time, she was rushed to the ICU due to respiratory issues on the morning of the intended home return. While speaking with her doctors the next week, it was decided that Annabelle most likely wouldn't survive her Glenn surgery, due to decreased heart function and the moderate to severe AV Valve regurge. Her best option would be to go on the heart transplant list.

On January 13th, 2011, Annabelle was officially added to the Heart Transplant list with a 1b status.
The next day however, she was rushed to the ICU for respiratory complications. They placed her on special IV heart medication, and her status was moved to a 1a status, the most urgent transplant status. They waited for three long months, until April when they received a call telling them that a heart match had been found! At 4:30 that same afternoon, Annabelle received her heart! She spent a little over a month in the hospital recovering and was released to go home May 24, 2011. However fearing rejection of the heart, a heart-cath was done June 8, 2011. No rejection was found but a few issues were discovered, so she went in for another heart surgery the next day. She spent ten days in the hospital before she was again released to go home. She spent her first birthday at home, and it was miraculous. But three days later, she was taken to the hospital again for low O2 levels. By the time she had arrived at the hospital, Annabelle was non-responsive so they life-flighted her to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. She stayed in the hospital for only eleven days this time, and has been home ever since. Since then, Annabelle and her mother's focus is on working on her development and enjoying time spent with their family.

Krista has been through endless stress and worry, with all those trips between home and the hospital. She is definitely one strong mother. And to have three other children in her life to worry about during all of Annabelle's turmoils? Wow, what a strong and wonderful mother she must be. I wish that I had half of the strength these heart mothers have! :)

One more reminder to check out the CHD Awareness fun on Pinterest! Okay, maybe I lied. You'll get one tomorrow too lol. But do check it out! Hope everyone has a good day.

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