At a 20-week routine scan, first-time mum Alesha Stace was expecting to learn her unborn baby’s gender.
Instead, she would go on to discover her child had a life-threatening heart condition.
Mrs Stace’s obstetrician discovered an anomaly in the baby’s heartbeat, and she was immediately referred to the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Her unborn son, Jax, was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries — a rare but life-threatening condition — at just 23 weeks’ gestation.
The condition means the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and body are connected to the wrong ventricles.
Jax was scheduled for open heart surgery when he was just one week old.
“It was all completely out of the blue but the cardiologist gave us hope with a great prognosis and plan, making us feel like there was light at the end of the tunnel,” Mrs Stace, of Armstrong Creek, said.
The 31-year-old said waiting for the marathon surgery to end was “horrible”.
The surgery was a success, and these days, five-year-old Jax is a happy and “very hyperactive” kid with lots of energy.
“He loves superheroes and is interested in the footy; he is a Cats fan,” Mrs Stace, 31, said.
“We would not have our son if it was not for the Royal Children’s Hospital. Jax would not have survived without the surgery and care by the incredible cardiologist and nursing staff.”
Jax is currently living without restriction or any medication. But he does have an enlarged aortic root that is monitored with regular visits to the hospital. Mrs Stace said there was a possibility the enlargement could lead to another open heart surgery operation for Jax in the future.
Originally published in the Geelong Advertiser, March 21, 2019
Words: Tamara McDonald
To read the original story, visit the Geelong Advertiser website.