AHA Information: Born in China With a Coronary heart Defect, She’s Now 14 and Calls Her New Coronary heart ‘Thor’ | Well being and Health

AHA Information: Born in China With a Coronary heart Defect, She’s Now 14 and Calls Her New Coronary heart ‘Thor’ | Well being and Health

MONDAY, Feb. 21, 2022 (American Coronary heart Affiliation Information) — 4 years after Jamie Jennings began the adoption course of to be a single mother, she acquired the decision at 3 a.m. A 1-year-old lady in China with a congenital coronary heart defect wanted a house. Jamie had 48 hours to resolve whether or not this lady would turn into her daughter.

Jamie appeared first on the medical file. Earlier than falling in love with the lady’s image, Jamie needed to verify she might deal with the guts subject. To assist her resolve, she consulted a pediatrician and a heart specialist.

The infant had a gap in her coronary heart that might have to be mounted. She additionally had a small proper ventricle and pulmonary stenosis, a situation through which the valve between the guts’s proper ventricle and pulmonary artery is simply too slender, obstructing blood stream. However docs had been assured Jamie might handle the challenges forward.

“I lastly checked out her image at 4 or 5 within the morning, and I mentioned, ‘She’s fairly cute,'” mentioned Jamie, a center college librarian in San Antonio.

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4 months later, she boarded a aircraft to China to deliver her daughter residence.

The toddler was referred to as Feng Binq Qing, or “blue ice,” in her orphanage. It was as a result of her coronary heart defects left her chilly and blue. Jamie named her Grace after a favourite trainer colleague.

Six weeks after arriving residence, Grace had her first open-heart surgical procedure. Two years later, Grace had a second surgical procedure.

Within the following years, Grace saved up along with her friends. She performed with mates and discovered methods to trip a motorcycle. But when she labored too exhausting, her lips turned blue.

Grace was in third grade when Jamie seen the lady’s power was waning. In fourth and fifth grade, “she had no stamina,” Jamie mentioned. “It was type of scary.” Not lengthy after, a brand new heart specialist mentioned Grace had a leaky coronary heart valve. A drugs was supposed to assist. It did not.

As the beginning of sixth grade approached, Jamie scheduled an appointment to debate an operation at a kids’s hospital in Austin. However earlier than that day got here, Grace collapsed at college and was taken to the ER. She was in coronary heart failure.

On the way in which to the kids’s hospital in Austin, Grace mentioned, “Mama, I do not wish to die.”

As docs labored to get her out of coronary heart failure, her spirits had been good. She typically performed chess with a nurse. Then she went into cardiac arrest.

After docs resuscitated her, Grace was positioned on a machine that pumped and oxygenated her blood. Per week later, her physician implanted a left ventricular help machine, or LVAD, in her chest to enhance blood stream.

The surgical procedure was difficult as a result of Grace additionally has heterotaxy, a uncommon situation through which an individual’s organs are abnormally organized inside their chest and stomach.

The LVAD was solely imagined to be momentary. Grace wanted a brand new coronary heart.

Two weeks later, Grace had a stroke. Fortunately, there was no lasting injury. In actual fact, she returned to high school and earned A’s and B’s.

Just a few months later, Jamie and Grace had been at residence enjoying video video games when Grace complained her controller wasn’t working. Jamie tried it and it labored high quality. Grace was offended and her hand shook. Jamie referred to as the LVAD coordinator.

The coordinator mentioned to have Grace smile. It got here out lopsided, a telltale signal of one other stroke. Jamie referred to as 911. Grace glided by ambulance to her native hospital, then by helicopter to the Austin hospital.

Docs mentioned Grace wanted to stay hospitalized till the transplant. They wound up spending Christmas and Grace’s thirteenth birthday there.

Then, in January 2021, Grace turned the hospital’s second coronary heart transplant recipient. She named her new coronary heart Thor.

“It is so bittersweet as a result of you already know somebody misplaced a toddler on your little one to have life,” Jamie mentioned. “I am so grateful that of their time of despair the donor’s household selected to present life.”

After they arrived residence, Grace was nervous her coronary heart would fail. She did not wish to be alone. So Jamie and Grace plastered sticky notes round the home that mentioned “Thor is robust” and “Thor will not fail.”

“Now that she’s wholesome, she’s a risk-taker,” Jamie mentioned.

Grace, now 14 and in eighth grade, is happy about her future. She’s studying clarinet and methods to skateboard and needs to be in marching band.

“I like studying, and I wish to be a scientist,” Grace mentioned. “I wish to do monitor subsequent 12 months. I am getting used to what having a standard coronary heart looks like.”

Her final stroke brought on issues focusing, and he or she misplaced some peripheral imaginative and prescient. She’s nonetheless in bodily and occupational remedy. She and Jamie additionally profit from remedy to speak in regards to the trauma they’ve endured.

“Grace is a tremendous child,” Jamie mentioned. “She’s my hero, she conjures up me to be higher. I am so proud to be her mother. I acquired the suitable child.”

American Coronary heart Affiliation Information covers coronary heart and mind well being. Not all views expressed on this story replicate the official place of the American Coronary heart Affiliation. Copyright is owned or held by the American Coronary heart Affiliation, Inc., and all rights are reserved. When you have questions or feedback about this story, please e mail [email protected] heart.org.

This text initially ran on client.healthday.com.