Hannah’s Story

Hannah was airlifted to Lady Cilento Hospital when she was seven days old, where immediate plans were made for her first open heart surgery. Hannah had her second surgery at four months old.

Hannah’s parents, Lisa and Bailey, say they were in a state of shock and so overwhelmed with information when Hannah was diagnosed with Hyperplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a condition normally detected at a 20 week scan.

Lisa and Bailey share their tragedies and triumphs battling Childhood Heart Disease with us below:

“It was a miracle she had survived on her own for so long and immediate plans were made for Hannah’s first open heart surgery,” they said.

“We thought we had lost her and were worried that she had already suffered enough. We couldn’t believe it when she opened her eyes. She was showing us that she was ready to fight, so we said, Game on! Let’s fight this.

“We knew very little about Congenital Heart Disease and on learning about the statistics felt that as expecting parents, we should have been better informed.

“After the first surgery recovery was slow and difficult to watch. Hannah was so tiny and fragile and required such delicate round the clock care. Each day brought new nursing staff, all highly trained and experienced in cardiac care, another sign, that cardiac issues in children are far too common.

“We were so thankful for ‘Team Hannah’ the wonderful group of medical and allied health staff who catered and considered her every need. We found accommodation close to the hospital in order to have Hannah’s two sisters with us. It was a constant juggling act and we were so blessed to have the support of a wonderful group of friends and family.

“The second surgery was far more daunting than the first. Hannah was four months and so happy and healthy. She was fully breastfed, which did wonders for her immunity. It was unbearable to hand her over for another open heart surgery.

“Recovery was quick and after two excruciating weeks, Hannah was discharged and suddenly we were going home. It was frightening at first, but so wonderful.

“Hannah is thriving at home. She is now a very happy and content 11 month old who ‘looks’ amazing. People will often say ‘she looks so well, look at those chubby thighs, that gorgeous smile.’ What follows is usually ‘everything is ok now isn’t it?’ This is a really difficult to question to answer.

“Hannah’s condition means the left side of her heart is undeveloped and while surgery can assist her heart to function, there is no cure. Apart from the plan for a third operation at the age of four, we don’t know what the future will hold.

“Our priority is her day to day health and enjoying every minute with our precious baby.”

Hannah Garcha Toowoomba 2

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