Poppy-Rose was just seven days old when she underwent open-heart surgery – her heart was no bigger than a walnut at the time.

At 26 weeks in utero, she had been diagnosed with life-threatening heart issues, including a hypoplastic aortic arch (narrowing at the top of the aorta) as well as transposition of the great arteries (TGA) and multiple holes in her heart, among other problems.

The complex eight-hour surgery to correct these problems, involved three separate procedures and included a 30-minute period where surgeons cooled her body to just 20 degrees Celsius, putting Poppy-Rose into a state of circulatory arrest. This allowed them to correct the narrowing of her aorta (the body’s main artery). Donated heart tissue was then used to patch holes in her heart, and to enlarge the aortic arch.

However, the biggest irregularity was her TGA, which meant the two main arteries were connected to the wrong chamber of her heart. This was repaired with an arterial switch, a rare procedure performed only once or twice a year at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Following her surgery, Poppy-Rose spent nine weeks in hospital recovering and undergoing a series of tests until she was given the all clear to go home.

At three-months old, Poppy-Rose is now fighting fit, and enjoying home life with her family.

Suzi is positive about the future.

“Everything is going to be OK. I’m a realist, so I have learnt to take each day as it comes as tomorrow is never promised.”

Through the storm, Suzi said Poppy-Rose, who was conceived after five years of invitro fertilisation and 11 embryo transfers, had inspired them.

“Poppy-Rose has taught us to fight and keep fighting, because anything is possible.”