Harmony’s heart story began when she was still inside her mother’s womb which she shared with her twin sister, Mya. Her mother Irma, and father Luke were booked in for their routine 20-week pregnancy ultrasound when the sonographer noticed something wasn’t quite right with the girls’ hearts. A few weeks later, it was confirmed they both had hypoplastic left-heart syndrome meaning the left side of their hearts were underdeveloped.
Harmony and Mya were born by emergency caesarean section at 37 weeks both weighing 2.3kg. Within their first week of life, they both had open heart surgery to build a new aorta. Sadly, Mya’s condition was more complicated, and she passed away at 20 days old.
Harmony’s surgery went well, however, she failed to thrive and gain weight over the next four months and spent a lot of time in the intensive care unit at the Queensland Children’s Hospital. When she was five months old and only 3.5kg, Harmony had her second open-heart surgery to redirect the blood flow from the veins in her upper body directly to her lungs.
Sixteen days after the surgery, and 142 days total in hospital, Harmony was finally able to go home with her parents and siblings Isabella, Lucia, Emmanuel and Malachi.
At home, Harmony soon learned to walk and talk, but just before her third birthday, Harmony was admitted to hospital with dangerously low oxygen levels. It was found that Harmony had Rhinovirus (a cold) and although she was asymptomatic after five weeks in hospital, her oxygen levels would drop to as low as 30 per cent when walking or playing.
After several scans and procedures, cardiac specialists at the Queensland Children’s Hospital decided that the Harmony needed a third and final open-heart surgery. The procedure went well and over the next few weeks Harmony’s lips, fingers and toes had a healthy pink glow as her oxygen level reached up to 90 per cent – somewhere it had never been before! Harmony could run and play without tiring and without her lips turning blue. Seventeen days after the surgery, Harmony was ready to go home with her family to run, play and take on the world.
Harmony is now making the most of life with her ‘new heart’ by swimming, singing, dancing, playing, socialising and being outdoors with her family. She proves her resilience to everyone by taking on every challenge with strength and a smile.
Harmony’s mum, Irma, said her family had learnt to enjoy the good times when they are present.
“We’ve experienced many circumstances where a hospital admission or a sudden turn in Harmony’s health can flip our lives upside down,” Irma said.
“My husband and I have learnt how important it is to work as a team, as our family can sometimes be apart for months if one of us needs to be in hospital with Harmony.
“I believe Harmony’s happy nature plays a big part in her healing process. She has taught me to try and find happiness even among the storms because a happy attitude really does bring gratitude for what we do have.”