Braydee Clair Little: Pope, MS
One of the happiest moments in our life as a married couple was March 7, 2011, when our second daughter, Braydee Clair, was born.
Two days later when we were getting ready to be discharged, the doctor examined Braydee Clair for her last full checkup. At this time is when the physicians discovered that her organs were not all on the correct side. Her heart is on the right side of her chest, her liver is midline, and she has multiple small spleens. Her heart is like a "mirror image" of a normal heart. The blood vessels bringing blood from her lungs were not connected to the heart properly. She also had a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart, and between the two lower chambers of her heart. Also, the valve inside the heart between the right upper and lower chambers was not normal. None of these things were detected during my pregnancy with the ultrasounds. They did release her to go home, but we had to follow up with a cardiologist as soon as possible.
Once meeting with her cardiologist, it was decided that eventually over time she would need to have surgery on her heart. At seventeen months of age, Braydee Clair, received her first open heart surgery. The surgery took place in Philadelphia, PA at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The surgery was so complex that her physician near our home felt more confident sending us to do the surgery in Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, Braydee Clair ended up having two open heart surgeries and four bypasses. We stayed in Pennsylvania for five weeks. The surgeries corrected the way the blood came back to the heart and closed the holes between the chambers. It was a very complex surgery, but Braydee Clair has recovered from the surgeries, and she is doing amazingly well!
She has future surgeries to come and takes medicine daily for her heart. She still has an abnormality of the mitral valve on the right side of the heart that "leaks" because of the difficulty repairing it initially. This is partially responsible for heart enlargement. Braydee Clair still has no sinus node (internal pacemaker), so her heart rhythm is maintained by an internal "backup" pacemaker.
All of this seems like a lot, but we know God has a special purpose and a specific plan for Braydee Clair. We thank Him every day for blessing our family with her and her "unique" heart. Anyone that meets her falls in love with her! Braydee Clair is our inspiration, and we are just enjoying each day that the good Lord allows us to have with her.
Braydee Clair is now three years old. There is no set date for the next surgery because they want her to grow a little more. She is doing extremely well with her current condition, and we are buying as much time as we can before she needs another surgery. However, my husband and I are still praying that God will continue to heal Braydee Clair's heart completely without needing anymore surgeries.
In dealing with Braydee Clair's heart problems and surgeries, we have found comfort in this particular Bible verse. "I chose you before I formed you in the womb, I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5. It just gives us a sense of peace in knowing that God made Braydee Clair this way for a reason, and that He will use her and her special heart as a great testimony for other families.
Braydee Clair's heart defects were undiagnosed before birth. We are fully on board to join forces with the American Heart Association and raise awareness and approval of passing life-saving policies like a mandatory pulse ox screening across our state to find undetected congenital heart defects before a newborn leaves the hospital. Join our family in striving to get pulse ox screenings required in Mississippi. OUR BABIES ARE WORTH IT.
--Written by Lindsee Little, mother