When her infant daughter is older, Autumn Spivey will tell her that her scars are symbols of her inborn courage, of “how brave she has been through all of this, even though she may not remember.”
Halle Spivey was born Dec. 5, 2016, with congenital heart abnormalities, including a double inlet left ventricle, where the left and right atria of the heart are connected to the same ventricle; transposition of the great arteries (TGA), in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed; and hypoplastic aortic arch, indicating a blockage in the aorta.
Just three days after her birth, Jeffrey S. Heinle, M.D., associate chief of congenital heart surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, performed lifesaving surgery on Halle, reversing her TGA and inserting a Blalock-Taussig (BT) shunt to increase pulmonary blood flow. On Jan. 15, 2017, she had a second, unexpected surgery, to address a narrowing of her coronary artery.
Then on April 4, Heinle performed a third surgery on Halle, replacing the temporary BT shunt with a Glenn shunt and re-routing her superior vena cava to a pulmonary artery. He also inserted a pacemaker to help control the speed and rhythm of her heart. Eventually, Halle will undergo a Fontan procedure to help direct blood to her lungs.
Since this photo of Halle was taken in May, she has undergone additional surgeries and one very close call. At a certain point, when her heart rate became elevated and her breathing fast, doctors were forced to inject medicine via intraosseous (IO) infusion—through the bone and into the marrow.
“They needed to intubate her to help take the workload off her heart, and when they did, she coded,” Autumn explained. “They pushed the meds and performed CPR for 27 minutes. They called for ‘last pulse check’ and there was no pulse. They pulled me over to her bed to say goodbye before they called it, and her heart started beating after I kissed her little hand! It was seriously like a movie! I heard ‘get a line in,’ and was moved away from the table.”
Although doctors stabilized Halle, the IO had leaked into her blood vessels, causing them to constrict. She never regained blood flow back to her right leg and, as a result, the leg had to be amputated through the knee.
But Halle rallied. And on Aug. 7, after 245 days at Texas Children’s Hospital, she was released. On Facebook the following day, Autumn thanked everyone who was and will continue to be part of her daughter’s journey:
“We have been truly blessed by close, personal friends, as well as strangers who follow her story. … Our families have been incredibly helpful and encouraging, and willing to drop everything to do whatever we needed of them. … The wonderful nursing staff at TCH has also been a HUGE support for me. They have made being at the hospital day in and day out one of the best parts of this experience. I have made many friendships with them that I know will continue after our stay. Lastly, my fellow heart moms! Without them, I’m not sure how I would have survived. This life is not made for the weak, and I have never thought of myself as strong, but these women have helped me find my strength and advocate for Halle.”
Now that Halle is home, Autumn said, it’s hard to even think that she spent her first eight months in a hospital.
“She seems like a completely normal baby, besides all the medications, of course,” she said. “She is taking everything in, and loves being outside in her stroller. She has been sleeping through the night, and adjusting well. She’s a little night owl, though, like her older brother. Ha! That just means we get to sleep a little later in the morning.”
How #breastcancer care has changed in the last 18 years and what that means to patients, from nurse navigator Nicole Luckett: https://t.co/SPuGI1IBHL BCSM #endcancer
See how Dr. Eric Storch stays fit in our latest Healthy Habits. https://t.co/d9IPMEe9R9 #healthy #habits
Operation Song uses music to help Veterans heal https://t.co/yQvB2ZUbfR via @WRCB
“Vaping isn’t a part of my game plan, and it shouldn’t be a part of yours.”Watch to see why @chrisduvall91 stays away from e-cigarettes. @HoustonDynamo #ForeverOrange #endcancer https://t.co/Ae2WV1qJfF
“I don’t want my daughter to live in fear of getting #skincancer,” says 2x #melanoma survivor Katie Herwig, who was diagnosed when she was 22 weeks pregnant.Here’s their story: https://t.co/LvKtoCcM4t #CancerMoonshot #endcancer https://t.co/vacCyfBYTZ
For Dr. Puja Van Epps, enabling Veterans to reclaim their health from HIV disease is the most rewarding aspect of her VA career https://t.co/UkwqiP6W9r @vacareers
Are you hooked on the hunt for the Iron Throne? Learn why people can be so obsessed with @GameOfThrones and other television series. https://t.co/B2oNsytvsa #GoT #GameOfThrones
@HealthyLifeZon1 Thanks for the share
@Africadisruptiv Thank you for the shout-out
Marine Corps Veteran creates ‘Operation Coffee’ to raise awareness, money to help prevent Veteran suicide https://t.co/m9LPBGuskk #VAntagePoint
@Follementbijoux Thanks for sharing
We are happy to hear the @houstonzoo's elephant, Joy, has recovered from a case of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus. Learn how our own Paul Ling is helping to treat elephants with this disease at the zoo as well as throughout the globe. https://t.co/OVXUltkZsm #virology
In this week's hospital happenings, @DisneyOnIce visited Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital to host an Easter egg hunt for patients and families and TIRR Memorial Hermann Hotwheels team was recognized at the @HoustonRockets first home playoff game. https://t.co/Ch5ObNt1a5
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
#DYN that roughly 82% of people will experience some #PTSD symptoms within the first month after experiencing a sexual assault. See how @TAMUnursing is searching for a way to prevent that from happening. https://t.co/xBrGOe4DOw#TAMUHealth #SexualAssaultAwarenessMonth https://t.co/SbVxyQs0D9
Harris Health System@harrishealth
Everything a pregnant mother drinks goes to the fetus. Drinking alcohol while pregnant is a leading cause of birth defects in a fetus. The risk of miscarriage and stillbirth also goes up if the mother drinks alcohol. https://t.co/sqU2WDKKvb