A 19-month-old child, who was born with multiple birth defects has already undergone two open heart surgeries and is looking at another in the future.
Her mother, Nikki Patten, was 20 weeks pregnant when she found out her daughter, Parker Patten, had congenital heart defects.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it affects about 40,000 births per year in the United States.
Parker had her second open heart surgery at just eight months old. Her first operation was when she was 7 days old.
She was born with several congenital heart defects, or CHD’s, with one being Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome, meaning she was born with half a heart.
Nikki says her birth was bittersweet.
“It was saying ‘hello’ to her and not knowing if I was going to be saying ‘goodbye’ to her shortly after, but it was a beautiful experience,” Nikki said. “I mean, I have my soulmate child.”
Parker won’t need to have surgery again until she’s five years old, but these operations don’t fix her heart – they extend her life. If a transplant is needed, the family is praying she won’t need to be listed for one until her adult years, but there’s a possibility that baby Parker could go into heart failure before her third operation and will need a transplant at this young age.
She has complications from her surgery, experiences seizures and hearing loss, has asthma and will soon test for autism. The happy-go-lucky 19-month-old is putting up a fight though.
Nikki also recently took on the role of lead coordinator with Mended Little Hearts of Western New York, a national organization that connects different families going through this difficult time.
“The CHD children can kind of play together and be with people that are going through something similar,” Nikki added. “Then we support the moms, and the dads, and the siblings just so everybody kind of feels included because it’s hard for everybody in the family, not just the patients.”
If you’re going through a similar situation, you can contact Parker’s family by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To get in touch with the Mended Little Hearts, message their Facebook page by clicking here.
Lastly, Parker’s prayer page can be found here.