As soon baby Sara was placed back in her mother’s arms, someone else was ready to scoop her up and welcome her home.
© Adam Randell photo
After requiring two open-heart surgeries at Sick Kids in Toronto, seven-month-old baby Sarah got to see her Main Brook home for the first time last week. At a welcome home party, on Tuesday, parents Dave Smith and Danielle Galgay were more than happy to show her off to the town.
From the amount of fun she was having at her welcoming party, during her first trip to Main Brook, you wouldn’t be able to tell the seven-month-old has already gone through more than most ever will in their life.
At 28-weeks pregnant, Danielle Galgay, originally from St. John’s, and Dave Smith, of Main Brook, found out their daughter had a hypoplastic right heart, double outlet right ventricle, pulmonary stenosis, ventricular septal defect and transposition of the great vessels.
A trip to Ontario for a fetal echocardiogram, determined her arteries were strong enough to be born in Newfoundland.
After being born, it was discovered Sara also had an aneurism behind her heart.
Only being in the world for six weeks, the Newfoundland and Labrador Health system had done everything it could for Sara and the family was airlifted to Sick Kids in Toronto.
“We knew that she needed surgery, but there is no cardiac surgeon pediatrician in the province,” Galgay said. “Because Sara’s condition was so complex, there were only two surgeons in the country that would even look at her. Because of timing, Toronto was the closest.”
In less than a month-and-a-half she had two open-heart surgeries.
After her first surgery, Sara went into cardiac arrest for 35 minutes and spent three days on life support.
A month-and-a-half later she would receive her second surgery.
“It was all very overwhelming,” Galgay said of the emotional time. “There were a lot of things that happened very quickly that we just didn’t expect.”
Spending 97 days at Sick Kids, Sara was able to return to Newfoundland on Feb. 7, but had to spend it in St. John’s for follow up appointments at the Janeway.
But things are looking up now and Sara is doing much better.
“She does have a feeding tube right now, which is one of the complications that arose from being on a respirator for two and a half months,” Galgay said. “She will definitely need one more surgery, when she’s between 18 months and three years old, along with continuous follow-ups with cardiology at the Janeway.
“But things are good, we finally got clearance to come home so we are just going enjoy every minute of it, and we are very, very excited for everyone to meet her.”
The support that the family received during their trying time won’t soon be forgotten either.
“The support from our family and friends has been overwhelming, even complete strangers,” she said. “Main Brook has been absolutely fantastic, friends from coast to coast have just been amazing.”