In 2014, Isaiah’s family were so excited to find out they were expecting another child; a little brother for four year old Micah.
Sadly at their 20-week pregnancy scan, the family were told their baby had a complex heart condition. The next few months were full of worry about their baby’s health, surgeries he would need, and if he would survive. It wasn’t until Isaiah was born that they found out he would go down the path of living with half a heart.
“I told Micah that his little brother had a sore heart,” remembers Isaiah’s mum Karen. “He asked to see my tummy and then Micah said ‘well he can have my heart’.”
Two days after their little boy Isaiah was born he was transferred to the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in preparation for his first open-heart surgery at just six days old. Isaiah then had two more open-heart surgeries before he was four months old. After every surgery Isaiah needed one week of round-the-clock care in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.
“It is the hardest thing in the world handing your child over to doctors knowing they will be cutting open his chest and stopping his heart. You cry, you feel sick, and you cry some more.”
After all this, and four months in hospital, Isaiah and his family could finally go home.
However Isaiah’s battle will continue as his heart will never be completely fixed. He will require another major open-heart surgery before he turns five, and will take daily medications for the rest of his life.
Isaiah’s heart struggles to keep up with him so he tires more easily from physical activities. He will never be able to play team sports and will need cardiology follow up for life.
Isaiah is now nearly two years old, he’s travelled overseas, he loves books, he loves exploring outside and, with a cheeky smile, he loves getting his big brother in trouble. By looking at him today you would never know he has half a heart, and endured all he did as a baby.
Every day eight babies are born in Australia with a heart defect, and every week, four lives are lost.
“20 to 30 years ago this condition could have been fatal, so we take each day as it comes. Isaiah has taught us so much; he’s made us realise what is really important in life … family is everything.”
Tune into the Channel Nine Telethon on Saturday 19 November 2016 to find out more about Isaiah’s journey and learn how you can help sick kids like him, today and tomorrow.