On Christmas Eve 2016, Wendy and Justin Harman were joyed to discover they were going to have a baby. The excitement of the expectant family overshadowed the elaborate and well planned Christmas presents, but they opened them anyhow.
Things seemed to be going according to plan until April 3rd, when Wendy attended what she thought would be a routine check up. To her surprise, she tested positive for high protein levels signifying the possibility of spina bifida. They were instructed to have a Level 2 ultrasound performed in Little Rock to verify or disprove whether their baby boy, Kutter, had this condition.
Their appointment was scheduled for April 27th. “We had said enough prayers, done enough research, and confided in several medical practitioners that we felt like we had a good understanding and felt confident about being able to handle this doctor’s visit.”
They met with the geneticist who informed the Harman’s of something that a mother never expects or wishes to hear.
“The geneticist comes in and begins explaining that the arms, legs, feet, hands all look good. He moves on to the spine and reassures us that there is no spina bifida. We are in the clear of any spinal malformations. The amniotic fluid looks good and the brain measures totally normal. Everything is great! He is even 6 ounces ahead of schedule, but we need to take a look at the heart because this is not just a problem, but of all the birth defects your Kutter could have, this is a big one. “
Kutter has a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
This condition is where the left side of the heart does not develop during weeks 8-12 and the right side is handling the job of both sides to compensate. This is not sustainable once Kutter is born.
There are only a handful of surgeons that can perform the surgeries in the four states area. Currently, the Harman’s are traveling to dallas every week until Kutter is born. Then he will have to have a series of open heart surgeries starting a few days after birth.
Justin placed his hand on my Wendy’s shoulder and the tears started to fall from everyone in the room. The next few minutes became a blur for the family until they were alone again.
It was at that moment that everything became very clear to them.
“We didn’t know anything about what we were dealing with and were scared to death to find out but knew God chose us for a reason and we were up for the challenge. We walked out of that room, held our heads high, met the doctor in the hallway , shook his hand and headed home. We spent the next couple of days doing more research, talking to even more specialized medical practitioners and found ourselves in the hands of the Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas.
The hospital has a special medical team for babies with congenital heart diseases that has been together for over 15 years. They explained to Wendy the series of three surgeries Kutter will need and that they perform these surgeries at least once if not two-three times per month.
Kutter will never gain the use of the left side of his heart, but over the course of these three operations, the blood circulating to and from the lungs and heart will be re-routed to alleviate so much responsibility from the right side.
Most likely, Kutter will spend the first months of his life in Dallas and then will return home when his life expectancy increases immensely after 3 months of age. They will then have to return to Dallas for his second surgery at 6 months.
The Harman’s and Kutter have a long road ahead of them. The support of their families, friends, community, and medical staff give them the confidence to take these challenges head on.
The one comment from the doctor that really resonated with them was, “Kutter will never be the fastest or strongest on the team, but he will be on the team.”
07/27th The Burger Joint in New Boston – portion of proceeds go to the benefit of Kutter Lane. The address is 400 N. Center Street, New Boston, TX Accepting Call in orders starting on the 24th 903.556.0596
08/03rd Draw Down & Live Auction – Fat Jacks 6-10pm Entertainment by Taryn Ashley
08/10th Benefit raffle Drawing
Dominos Pizza BOGO Cards for $10 donation to Kutter Lane
Each card has 16 Buy One Get One free pizza
Available at all Dominos Pizza stores in Texarkana