Callie Shay Harper Gullahorn | Heart Warrior of the Week
Callie’s parents went into their anatomy scan like most expectant parents do – excited to find out the sex of their baby. Instead of a celebratory type of visit, they got a piece of news that they couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams – their little girl had congenital heart disease, multiple defects in fact. Callie was diagnosed with pulmonary atresia with a ventricular septal defect (VSD), and an atrioventricular septal defect with ventricular imbalance consisting of dominant right ventricle and hypoplastic left ventricle.
Callie Shay Harper Gullahorn was born at 34 weeks on March 22nd, 2017 due to fluid build-up in her right lung. She spent 163 days in-between the NICU and CICU with multiple heart defects, GI complications, heart failure, and weeks of lymphatic fluid issues resulting in the need for 7 chest tubes.
This amazing little CHD Warrior has undergone 6 surgeries in her 11 months of life:
- A pyloromyotomy to repair the opening from her stomach into the small intestine, along with a banding procedure to alleviate intestinal mal-rotation and an appendectomy because her appendix was on the opposite side of where it should be.
- Open-heart Norwood surgery in which they placed a BT shunt to increase pulmonary blood flow
- A heart catheterization to create a game plan for her Glenn surgery
- Open-heart Glenn surgery to connect the superior vena cava to the pulmonary arteries
- G-tube placement and fundoplication to help prevent food from coming up (reflux)
- Heart catheterization
Although she has already endured so much, Callie will need more surgeries in the future. She has a heart catheterization scheduled for this Fall to check on the function of her heart and will require another cath to prepare for her Fontan surgery. Her open-heart Fontan will take place around age 3 and there still may still be a need for more surgeries after that. She is currently on 9 different medications; they are hoping to cut out a few of those in the future, but 3 of them will be necessary for the rest of her life. Callie won’t be allowed to play contact sports, but her parents are hopeful her restrictions will be minimal throughout her life.
Her Mom, Brandi, thinks back on that hospital stay, and all their precious girl has been through…