Even before Everleigh Faith came into the world, her name marked her as a miracle child who would overcome great obstacles. Diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, Pulmonary Atresia and MAPCAS (Major Aortopulmonary Collateral Arteries), her congenital heart disease (CHD) journey has already been challenging, but she continues to make big strides every day.
Once Everleigh’s parents learned about her serious heart defects when mom Courtney was just 26 weeks pregnant, they immediately began to seek out information about her CHD and connections with other parents in similar circumstances. Courtney said their biggest support during Everleigh’s initial inpatient hospital stay in California, where she underwent three open heart surgeries, and many subsequent outpatient procedures has been Facebook groups, such as Georgia Heart Moms, and other mothers with kids with the same diagnosis.
Everleigh sees pediatric cardiologist Andrew Dodgen, MD, at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology’s Columbus clinic. Courtney said she appreciates Dr. Dodgen’s honest and understanding manner, and his encouragement to grow her knowledge of her daughter’s CHD. The staff members at the Columbus clinic know Everleigh by name, and they strive to ensure that she and her three sisters feel welcome and as relaxed as possible during her appointments.
Courtney said Everleigh was ventilator-dependent beginning at just 4 months old. They recently reached an exciting milestone a couple of months after her second birthday, when she graduated from the ventilator program and became part of the “naked neck club.”
“Everleigh is a miracle child!” Courtney said.
Everleigh is thriving today and loves playing with her older sisters, Anna and Paisley, while learning to share with her little sister Hadlee. Everleigh enjoys playing hide and seek with her parents, and Boss Baby and Sing 2 are her favorite movies.
Courtney said she would tell other parents of heart warriors to ask questions and not be afraid to advocate for their children or reach out for support.
“You know your baby best, whether they’re two hours or two months old,” Courtney said. “Everleigh was so sick, we weren’t sure she’d make it, but she’s overcome everything. Our children are strong, and they can move mountains. Everleigh is being given the best start in life possible.”
For more information about Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.