Chase Porter

One Day at a Time for Gorgeous Chase

When two-week-old Chase Porter refused to feed and felt cold to touch his parents knew something was wrong.  They bundled up their new born, took him to the local after hours and were prepared to be told everything was OK and they were just being nervous, first time parents.  Little did they know their actions saved their little boy’s life. While waiting to be seen, a nurse told them to get Chase to Waikato Hospital.

Within moments of arriving their son was whisked away and surrounded by a team of doctors.  “We counted 10 doctors at one stage, all shouting instructions and orders and we had absolutely no idea what was going on. We thought maybe it was meningitis,” explains Kelsi. “But when the hospital sent for the Chaplin we braced ourselves.” Little Chase had gone into heart failure.

It took doctors three hours to resuscitate Chase, and all Kelsi and Andy knew was that there was an issue with his heart.  “They said they knew what the problem was, but just didn’t know how to fix it.’ After being stabilized, Chase was moved into NICU where he stayed for eight days.  But he went into heart failure again. “We were told he wasn’t going to make it and we’d have to immediately fly to Auckland Hospital.” 

After numerous tests the cardiac specialist gave the young couple the bad news.  Chase had an incredibly rare heart condition, dilated cardiomyopathy, usually only found in 90-year-old men and is fatal. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also had Left Ventricle Noncompaction Syndrome and a mitral valve leak, the ‘trifecta’ of heart defects Kelsi calls it.  If this tiny baby was to survive he’d need a heart transplant, but of course he was just too small.

As new parents, it’s been an incredibly tough time for the pair, and one they’d just never imagined. “I describe the past year as like being on a rollercoaster without a harness,” explains Kelsi. “We were looking forward to this normal beautiful vision of parenthood but instead it’s been the craziest of rides.” 

After two months in hospital Chase was eventually discharged under the watchful eye of hospital and hospice staff. 

Even though his tiny heart is only working at 30% it’s very hard to tell. “He is such a happy toddler… he’s chubby, naughty and cheeky and he is an outrageous flirt with nurses,” laughs Kelsi.  His on-going care involves the cardiomyopathy cocktail of drugs three times a day, keeping him healthy and away from bugs, and watching for any warning signs like fatigue, sudden weight gain, and going off food.

“We can’t predict what is going to happen in the future, so as far as we’re concerned we take it one day at a time and enjoy every single minute of being with him.”