Human Interest

Adoptive family’s hearts are full of love for baby born with ‘half a heart’

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Amanda and Chris Rose had been waiting to adopt a child for two years when they received a call about a baby boy who had been born with a congenital heart defect and needed a family.

Within three hours of receiving that phone call on September 3, 2020, Amanda and Chris said yes to adopting baby Jeremiah. The next day, they were able to meet him for the first time, and be there with him for his first open-heart surgery. They were able to adopt him when he was two weeks old.

“It was definitely kind of overwhelming because he was intubated,” Amanda told WFMY News 2 of meeting Jeremiah. “He had a breathing tube down his throat the first we met him.”

Chris added, “At the very beginning it was definitely a little scary.”

 

 

But the couple knew that Jeremiah was meant to be their son. Born with right hypoplastic heart syndrome, Jeremiah’s right ventricle doesn’t work. The left side of his heart is forced to do all of the work — the reason people with the condition are often said to have “half a heart.”

Amanda, a nurse at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital in Tampa, is familiar with the team across the street at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital who will be caring for Jeremiah. His first surgery was meant to be “like a band-aid,” she explained. While there is no cure for congenital heart disease, the survival rate has increased by 30% in the last decade, according to the CHD Coalition. Jeremiah’s surgeon, Dr. Karl Reyes, Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, said he believes Jeremiah will thrive.

READ: Two-year-old thriving after in-utero surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome

“There’s only a very small percentage of babies that we cannot help nowadays,” said Dr. Reyes. “The sky’s the limit. I think as long as we’re following them and making sure that they’re being you know closely monitored. I think they can do many things.”

Jeremiah is now six months old and has been released from the hospital on a new special at-home monitoring system. He wears a pulse oximeter to measure his heart rate and oxygen levels, which can alert the doctors and nurses at the hospital of any concerns. As he awaits his next surgery in a couple of months, he can be at home, bonding with his family, rather than in the hospital. Amanda said there have been a couple of occasions in which they had to bring him in to see the cardiology team based on what the pulse oximeter was reading. After his next surgery, he is expected to need one more at some point in his life.

Jeremiah’s future looks very bright with his adoptive family as the advancements in care promise to help him live a healthy life.

“You never know… what God has in store for you,” said Amanda. “And I know there was a Jeremiah-sized hole in our hearts. And he just fit perfectly.”

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