Baby Born with Hole in His Heart May Need Surgery

Baby Born with Hole in His Heart May Need Surgery

Wyatt Ensign was born with a hole in his heart and his family is waiting patiently to find out if he will need surgery. Courtesy photo

Will newborn baby Wyatt Ensign need heart surgery? That’s the question his mom and dad are nervously waiting to be answered.

For now, Wyatt’s mom, Liberty Eddy, and dad, Austin Ensign, are simply waiting for answers after a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments have taken place since Wyatt’s birth on June 20. Shortly after 7 pound, 11.4 ounce, Wyatt was born, nurses quickly noticed his oxygen levels were not where they needed to be. They also noticed he had an arrhythmia and heart murmur. The decision was made to wait 24 hours and then see how Wyatt was doing.

However, after 24 hours, Wyatt’s heart murmur wasn’t getting any better. In fact, he was only getting worse while at the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County. Liberty said that’s when the decision was made to fly Wyatt to the pediatric cardiology unit at Primary Children’s Center in Salt Lake City. The nurse on the flight suspected a a very serious heart defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosus and gave Wyatt medicine to to slow down his respiratory system.

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“We are very grateful for our hospital and doctors,” Liberty said about MHSC.

Once they arrived at Primary Children’s a test was completed as quickly as possible so doctors could determine what was going on and make a diagnosis. Liberty said three doctors were working together and did an echocardiogram, labs, and EKG’s and quickly determined that thankfully he did not have the issue they originally thought. However, they determined he had a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), which means Wyatt has a hole in his heart. The hole in Wyatt’s heart is in the two bottom chambers and due to its location, blood isn’t pumping through his system correctly.

Throughout this entire process, the medical staff at Primary Children’s continued to impress Liberty. She referred to them as “the Disneyland” of medical care.

“They were just kind the whole time,” Liberty said. “It brings you to tears. Any child deserves the medical care like we received at Primary Children’s.”

Not only does Wyatt have a hole in his heart, but doctor’s also discovered Wyatt’s heart has four other abnormalities. However, the main focus is on whether the hole in his heart will close on its own or if Wyatt will need to have open-heart surgery when he is around 4 months old.

Despite the diagnosis, Liberty is glad that it is not worse. She said the doctors seemed relieved that it wasn’t something worse and there were other children at Primary Children’s who had much worse diagnoses, Liberty and Austin quickly found out. After discovering children who had worse conditions and in need of multiple surgeries, Liberty said they couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about their son’s diagnosis.

“We are lucky he has what he has,” Liberty said.

Wyatt also has persistent pulmonary hypertension, which is basically when a newborn hasn’t adapted to breathing outside of the uterus. Due to this, Wyatt has been on oxygen most of his life so far. Liberty is hopeful that at the next appointment next week, he may get off of the oxygen. It’s been hard trying to hold and comfort Wyatt because he is attached to the oxygen tank, but she and Austin are doing the best they can.

Staying Strong and Finding Support

Another struggle is knowing there is nothing they can do to help their son. With the oxygen tubes and tank in the way even comforting him can be a struggle at times.

“It’s just hard feeling helpless with your own child,” Liberty said. “It’s just hard not knowing what’s going to happen and if he will need to have open heart surgery.”

For both Austin and Liberty this is their first child and Liberty since she is only 21 and Austin is 23, she feels like they are still just kids themselves. But despite being overwhelmed at times, they are trying to remain positive and Liberty just keeps reminding herself of what one of her family members told her. “God only gives special children to special people.”

Not only has the couple found support through family, friends, and the community, but through strangers as well. Liberty has already found support in an online social media group. This group is specifically for parents who have children with similar diagnoses. It gives Liberty a place to connect with others who truly know what they are going through because they are facing the same things.

Liberty is currently out on unpaid maternity leave, while Austin is in the process of looking for a new job. Because they have to travel back and forth to Salt Lake City every other week for doctor’s appointments, the need for a new car became apparent. An anonymous donor gave them a 2014 Kia Soul, with only 50,000 miles on it and a 10-year warranty. Acts of kindness like this have kept them going.

Liberty wanted to thank her mom who not only took about a month off from work, but came from Arizona to help them out.

“She’s truly been a Godsend,” Liberty said. “She’s been my rock emotionally.”

Liberty wanted to personally thank Kayla Fitzgerald and Brittney Stafford for helping with fundraising efforts and McKayla Logan for her generous gift of an Owlet Sock and camera as well as the pulse oximeter to give her and Austin peace of mind. The sock goes on Wyatt’s foot and it monitors his oxygen levels. She also wanted to thank Julia Giffard who is giving them more oxygen stickers that attach the tubes to Wyatt’s face.

She also wanted to thank her family and friends for their continued support and prayers.

“There’s nothing we could ever do to say thank you enough,” she said.

The next cardiology appointment is on July 10 and hopefully the doctors will have some good news for Wyatt and his mom and dad. Until then, the wait continues.