Having a family comes with many unexpected surprises, but Kutter Lane Harman is keeping his parents on their toes more than most. Born with a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, a condition where the left side of his heart didn’t fully develop, his journey hasn’t been an easy one, to say the least.
Wendy and Justin Harman, parents of Kutter Lane Harman, were pleased to discover the greatest Christmas present they could’ve hoped for, a positive pregnancy test. That was in 2016, today they are proud to hold their baby boy in their arms, cherishing how much he has grown in only 6 months, weighing a hefty 14.5lbs.
Kutter was born on August 2, 2017, weight 5lbs 8oz, after Wendy went into labor unknowingly. She had been feeling some discomfort and decided to call her doctor to be on the safe side. After checking in St. Michaels, they confirmed she was in labor and made arrangements to be transferred to Dallas for delivery.
More complications awaited the Harmans; Kutter was breech, necessitating an emergency cesarean for Wendy. After a successful delivery, Wendy and Kutter were only able to bond for 10 minutes before he needed to be taken to NICU, the congenital heart surgery unit, to be monitored. The Norwood surgery was performed on Kutter when he was only 7 hours old and seemingly too fragile for such circumstances.
Post surgery, Kutter’s chest cavity remained open for approximately 9 days and they weren’t discharged until October 9th. For two months the Harman family battle daily to help Kutter make it to the next milestone, making the outside world a complete blur.
“We had prayers coming in from Japan, New Zealand, Quebec, Italy, Australia and thousands of people from our home, Texarkana,” said Wendy gratefully.
As extensive as the first surgery was, amounting to over $3.5 million in medical expenses after insurance coverage, the Harmans understand the worth of their family and are proud of all the contributions they’ve received on behalf of Kutter.
“I just laugh about it,” said Justin. “My little man is worth more than that money to me.”
The Friends of Kiwanis hosted a fundraiser to help cover some of the costs and close friends have volunteered their time to work Justin’s lawn care business to cover the loss of income, even doing some repairs and construction to their residential property. You don’t find friends like theirs but once in a lifetime.
Even though they’ve received an immense outpour of help, they are starting a new bill with this second surgery, the Glenn. This surgery will transport blood from the top of his body and directs it to his lungs in lieu of the heart. This helps relieve some of the work being exerted by Kutter’s single ventricle. The hard work isn’t over yet, another extensive surgery, the Fontan procedure, remains around 3 years of age.
Despite the obstacles Wendy, Justin and Kutter have to traverse, they don’t seem too phased. They are Harmans, after all, and a Harman doesn’t quit until the battle is won.
February is Heart Disease Month and the Harmans encourage everyone to wear red in support to help spread awareness. There are only 960 babies born each year with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, and the disease is 100% fatal if not treated.
You can find more information about Kutter, the Little Tin Man, here.