A Joy To Behold
When pregnant Bay of Plenty mum, Rachel Dobbs found out a friend of hers was having a heart baby, she immediately thought how unlucky her friend was. She wasn’t concerned about her own child, because things like that only happen to other people.
But at 32 weeks, Rachel was to receive news that would rock her world. Her baby would also be born with a heart defect and would need a number of major heart surgeries.
“For the next two weeks we were in a complete state of shock. It took us a long time to process the information.”
Baby Joy was born with the condition Tetralogy of Fallot. It’s a combination of four different defects, and basically means a child with the condition doesn’t receive enough oxygen and often has a blue tinge to the skin (cyanosis).
“Before Joy was born we knew nothing about heart defects and how incredibly common they are. 1 in 100 births. So, we tried to get as much information as possible to prepare.”
Little Joy is now 7 months old and has just come through her first major heart surgery with flying colours. At some stage she may need to have a valve repair, but no one knows exactly when that may be. For the time being, Rachel says it’s all about taking one day at a time and surrounding herself with support.
“I found out about Heart Kids from my friend, and they’ve been amazing,’ Rachel says. She realises their heart journey is just beginning but knowing support is on hand is very reassuring. “We haven’t had to utilise many of the services yet but just being able to meet other parents with heart children at Murmurs coffee groups has been a godsend.”