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Lucy Paige Neighbors was born at Walter Reed hospital in Maryland, on July 25th, 2015, 6 weeks premature of her September 4th due date. She was one of many infants born with a congenital heart defect (CHD): in her case the structures in the left side of her heart were too small to support normal blood flow to her body and lungs. Additionally she had a small hole in her heart, or a Atrial Septal Defect. A cardiologist warned of the possibility of a heart defect a few weeks earlier after an echocardiogram, but the doctors seemed optimistic that she would be fine with some close monitoring.

Lucy was evaluated after her birth and immediately transferred to the Children’s National Hospital in DC for potential surgery. Thankfully, Mallory had narrowly avoided a C-Section and was discharged one day after giving birth, allowing her and Jon to remain at Lucy’s side every step of the way. They were both heartbroken as they learned that her condition would likely require a single ventricle repair, which is open heart surgery. She will then require 2 more heart surgeries over her first 2 years of life, leaving Lucy with an alternative heart functionality (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) that would allow her to survive but possibly limit her physical activity for life.

As prayers poured in from around the country through a vast network of friends and family, Jon and Mal begged God for healing of their baby girl. The doctors told them her condition appeared to be borderline between two surgical options, and after an additional echo scan they decided she was a candidate for a Double Ventricle Repair, a surgery that would repair her heart so that it could function using both sides, and wouldn’t require further surgeries down the road. We all praised God and rejoiced at this news!

Lucy underwent this surgery at 7:30am on 7/31. This surgery is very serious and there are a number of risks involved, especially considering her premature age and small size. To everyone's relief the surgery went well, there were no surprises, and the surgeons accomplished exactly what they were planning. The team involved were amazed at how well she did, and she made it through the first 24 hrs post surgery without any problems. She is currently still heavily sedated, and her chest remains open in the case of any complications, but with her current condition the doctors plan on closing the surgical site Sunday morning 8/2. She will remain on a ventilator for a few days, and the next big hurdle will be seeing how she does breathing on her own. Her recovery and hospital stay could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months depending on how her body deals with the surgery, and some rare cases take even longer than that.

There is so much to be thankful for right now. Jon and Mal are overwhelmed with joy that Lucy was able to receive a double ventricle repair rather than single. The fact that they are both able to be by her side through all of this is amazing. They are at one of the best hospitals in the nation, and their surgeon, Dr. Jonas, is one of the top infant heart surgeons as well. They are surrounded by love and encouragement, and appreciate everyone’s support. We all praise God for these things, and Jon and Mal have felt His peace and presence throughout the past week. Lucy is a beautiful baby and a feisty little fighter, and we have nothing but love and hope for her little life!

***
Mallory Neighbors is a Navy nurse at Walter Reed hospital, and thankfully is provided with paid maternity leave for 18 weeks. Additionally it appears their medical bills will be covered through their insurance. Unfortunately, Jon will not be receiving any income during this time. He is currently on FMLA leave from his job at Trader Joe’s, and additionally won’t be pursing any photography gigs during this time. They also have expenses related to practically living at the hospital indefinitely. They are uncertain as to how long before Jon can go back to work, as he want to remain at the hospital to support Mallory and Lucy during the recovery time, in addition to caring for their dog and cat at home.
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  • Tom & Kelly Bruce
    • $50 
    • 9 yrs
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Katy Burke
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Salem, OR
Jon Neighbors
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