Annabel, born 2006
Annabel Scarlett was born on October 24, 2006. One wriggly healthy 6lbs. 5ozs. bundle, nursing happily, sleeping, smiling, amazing. Her heart defect was not discovered until the third day in St. Peter's Hospital in Albany. I noticed she was lethargic and dry-mouthed around her 6am feed, morning tests detected a heart murmur, and by 9am Annabel had been diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and was rushed to Albany Medical Center to be stabilized.
Annabel underwent the Norwood surgery at 7 days old and a balloon angioplasty at two months old - three days after her first Christmas - to address the coarctation of her aorta. Unfortunately, the COA recurred rather quickly and following an unsuccessful attempt at a balloon angioplasty, she required emergency open-heart surgery to remove the severely constricted section of her aortic arch. Although she was just shy of five months and under 10 lbs., Annabel's amazing surgeon, Dr. Devejian, decided to complete the hemi-Fontan at the same time in one marathon 11 hour surgery. Her recovery was text book and she was home by late March.
That's the medical blurb. And there have been months of medical care and intervention in between. The crazy days of 14 feeds a day, the NG tubes, the moderate tricuspid valve leak, the neurotic obsession with weight gain. But, we've come a long way. Annabel is a funny, feisty, beautiful little girl with an infectious naughty laugh who brightens up every moment. She has more energy than the rest of us, and is clearly a thrill seeker. Dog rides, sleigh rides, trips to New York City's Museum of Modern Art, speedy negotiations of our hastily baby-proofed house. It's all under her control and we're in the throws of all those developmental milestones we've been eagerly awaiting. Annabel quickly picked up the nickname "Superbaby" along the way - it suits this little ball of energy and we remain in awe of her fighting spirit. Simply put, she re-focused, re-organized and re-prioritized every facet of our lives and, in turn, she is everything we could have ever asked for.
Story by Annabel's mom, Susie - New York