Miss Palmer was diagnosed with a rare (found in 1 of 8000 babies) congenital heart defect known as Shone Complex. I’ve included two diagrams (find it in the “update” section)- the left being a normal heart and the right being Miss Palmer’s. The left side of her heart (left atrium & left ventricle) are smaller than her right and it essentially has multiple issues that restrict/diminish the pumping of the blood to the rest of her body. The issues are as follows: (1) Her aortic valve - this valve is used to send blood to the rest of your organs and while normal babies have a smooth valve, think of it as a water hose, hers has a kink in it. This issue is called coarctation of the aorta. (2) Mitral valve dysplasia (the doors that lead from her left atrium into her left ventricle and another set from the left ventricle to the aortic valve) are both thickened and have issues pushing blood through. (3) Ventricular septal defect (hole in heart) - While every baby is born with a hole in their heart but closes up at birth, hers will most likely remain open with this disorder. In the womb, this hole is used to push blood through the right and left side of your heart since the baby is relying on the placenta & umbilical chord to keep them alive, as well as all of their organs to remain stable. Once the baby is born, it closes up so that the heart can function properly on its own in the outside world. (4) Subaortic stenosis - this is essentially additional tissue at the bottom of the left ventricle that is restricting blood flow to the aortic valve. (5) This isn’t an issue but you can see in each diagram the valve at the bottom of each heart that connects the right side of the heart to the left side. Every baby has this valve while in the womb and it’s purpose is to bypass oxygen to the lungs and to pump blood to the rest of the body directly. Once a baby is born, this valve goes away and the heart functions like normal. In our case, we want it to remain open until Miss Palmer’s first surgery. Now that you have an understanding of her condition, here is what the game plan is as of right now. Once Miss Palmer is born, she will go directly into the NICU and will be started on a medicine that will keep the valve that we want to remain open. They will do an echo on her heart to decide how extensive her surgery will be. Once they have a game plan of her surgery, she will be transported by ambulance to Egleston and Tyler will follow. I will remain in the hospital for recovery and once I’m discharged, I will follow. Regardless, the first surgery will be no more than when she is 7 days old. The echo will help determine if the hole in her heart closed up. If it didn’t, this and the aortic valve will definitely have to be repaired. Depending on how her heart is functioning, this may be all that the first surgery entails and then they will see how both sets of “doors” are functioning on their own and pushing the blood through. The second surgery will depend on what they had to do during the first surgery and how successful that is - the second surgery will take place somewhere around 6-8 months old and there’s also a potential for a 3rd surgery between 2-18 years old. We are hoping for no heart transplants, but all will just depend on how her heart develops through the beginning stages of life and on. Due to COVID restrictions in the hospital and the Ronald McDonald house at Egleston, Porter is not allowed to visit or stay the night. In order to keep his best interest at heart (no pun intended), to keep us together as a family and to not affect his routine too terribly much, we decided to rent an Air BnB for the entirety of Miss Palmer’s stay that is within walking distance of Egleston, especially since she will be in the hospital for Christmas and potentially into the New Year. We ask to please #prayforpalmer during the time leading up to her arrival, all of the surgeries required and the transition into our new life with our heart warrior. We have no doubt that there will be many trials and tribulations but we know that with the support of our family, friends and community, that we can conquer all obstacles with as much grace as possible. We love you guys and look forward to you all watching our journey and seeing Miss Palmer thrive! Stay tuned for more updates! - Alexis
During the month of November we’d love to collect frozen meals for the Anderson’s. They will be staying in Atlanta at a rental during Palmer’s NICU stay. While we all love take-out it would also be so nice to provide the Anderson’s with some homemade food as well! Nothing beats a home cooked meal! If you’d like to provide a frozen meal please sign up during the month of November. If you’d like to provide a food gift card please see the December sign-up! They could definitely use the food gift cards during their stay in Atlanta as well! Providing them these meals will allow them to rest, recover, spend precious time with Porter and Palmer while she’s in the NICU! If you want to help now or in a different way please see the “wishlist” section. You are able to purchase gift cards which will also directly support the Anderson’s! For example, a Target gift card will help go towards the purchase of an Owlet monitor for Palmer to use when she leaves the NICU, diapers, wipes, and maybe a few small Christmas items as they will be spending Christmas away from home.