Australian mother Larissa Brown (pictured, left) was told by doctors that she had to end her second pregnancy because her baby Georgia (pictured, right) has 'fatal heart disease'.

Baby of breast cancer survivor is born with half a heart

During her second pregnancy, mother and breast cancer survivor Larissa Brown was told her baby had a “fatal condition” and was encouraged by doctors to stop.

The 39-year-old from Townsville, Queenslandconsidered herself lucky to be able to have children after she was in her late twenties and had undergone both cancer and endometriosis treatments.

Against all odds, Larissa and husband Nathan Brown welcomed Emilia in 2017 and Georgia in 2021.

But little Georgia was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome — a rare and complex defect that affects regular blood flow — which has been a roller coaster of struggles for the entire family.

“I gave birth, gave her a kiss and then they took her away before I had a chance to hold her,” Larissa told FEMAIL.

Australian mother Larissa Brown (pictured, left) was told by doctors that she had to end her second pregnancy because her baby Georgia (pictured, right) has ‘fatal heart disease’.

The 39-year-old mother from Townsville, Queensland, and husband Nathan considered themselves lucky to have children, as Larissa survived breast cancer at the age of 27 and also suffers from endometriosis

The 39-year-old mother from Townsville, Queensland, and husband Nathan considered themselves lucky to have children, as Larissa survived breast cancer at the age of 27 and also suffers from endometriosis

Sadly, little Georgia was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome — a rare and complex defect that affects regular blood flow — which has been a rollercoaster of a struggle for the whole family.

Sadly, little Georgia was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome — a rare and complex defect that affects regular blood flow — which has been a rollercoaster of a struggle for the whole family.

At the 20-week pregnancy scan, the couple received the devastating news and officially diagnosed the deadly condition in Georgia.

“It was pure heartbreak,” Larissa said, adding, “I took a week off work and just cried.

“They took us through the three heart surgeries she would need to survive and we had so many termination talks — that I would never wish my worst enemy,” she said.

At the time, doctors said it was highly likely that Georgia would have learning disabilities, mental delays, a shorter life expectancy and an overall poor quality of life.

“We didn’t have it in our hearts to end the pregnancy — and we felt like the worst people in the world for choosing to continue, but we couldn’t give her up,” she said.

Unfortunately, there are no known causes for her rare and deadly condition.

Ahead of the 20-week pregnancy scan, the couple received the devastating news and Georgia was officially diagnosed with the deadly condition.

Ahead of the 20-week pregnancy scan, the couple received the devastating news and Georgia was officially diagnosed with the deadly condition.

Earlier in her life, Larissa survived breast cancer at the age of 27 and also suffers from endometriosis.

The treatment used to fight both diseases meant she would likely have trouble having children — or never have a baby at all.

Larissa and Nathan did not give up hope and moved to Sydney to discuss possible IVF treatments.

To their surprise, Larissa managed to conceive naturally and gave birth to their first daughter Emilia, now three.

A few years later, the couple began considering having another baby to expand their family again through IVF – but due to Larissa’s problems with endometriosis, she was considered ‘high risk’ and the specialist declined.

“My gynecologist, who has been treating my endo for 15 years, suggested a ‘gentle clean’ surgery and said, ‘This is your best chance at having another baby,’ Larissa recalls.

“It was a huge surgery and recovery, but of course I got pregnant again – I couldn’t believe it, we were so happy.”

After 36 weeks of pregnancy, the couple decided to give Georgia the best chance of survival and moved from Townsville to Brisbane to be close to the Queensland Children's Hospital.

After 36 weeks of pregnancy, the couple decided to give Georgia the best chance of survival and moved from Townsville to Brisbane to be close to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

After 36 weeks of pregnancy, the couple decided to give Georgia the best chance of survival and moved from Townsville to Brisbane to be close to the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

By 38 weeks, doctors made the decision to give Larissa a cesarean section where she has a huge medical team on standby.

Doctors had to act quickly after delivery and had a short window of time of 30 minutes to an hour to give Georgia a specific drug – unfortunately, mother and baby didn’t have time to interact with each other during the early moments.

At just six days old, precious Georgia underwent open-heart surgery, which took a whopping 10 hours due to complications.

It was a long way after surgery and during recovery the newborn suffered a collapsed lung.

“She looked very swollen and in bad shape, but then she started to recover beautifully, and then out of nowhere she needed more oxygen,” Larissa said.

“Doctors had no idea what was wrong with her, they did all the tests and gave her medicine, but gradually she got worse.”

At just six days old, precious Georgia underwent open-heart surgery, which took a whopping 10 hours due to complications

At just six days old, precious Georgia underwent open-heart surgery, which took a whopping 10 hours due to complications

After a CT scan, the cardiologist called Larissa to bring some breakthrough news.

The doctor found that Georgia was circulating too much and her oxygen level was dangerously low, which also meant she was eligible for the next heart surgery

After a CT scan, the cardiologist called Larissa to bring some breakthrough news. The doctor found that Georgia was circulating too much and her oxygen level was dangerously low, which also meant she was eligible for the next heart surgery

After a CT scan, the cardiologist called Larissa to bring some breakthrough news.

“He said to me, ‘I finally understand the heart of Georgia,’ she recalls.

The doctor found that Georgia was circulating too much and her oxygen levels were dangerously low, which also meant she was eligible for the next heart surgery.

“It was such a relief,” Larissa said.

A few days in Georgia she prepared for surgery, but unfortunately the doctors found an infection from which she had to recover first.

Antibiotics helped kill the infection and the baby was ready for the five-hour surgery again.

Fortunately, the procedure was “easy” and the doctors admitted to Larissa that they were concerned about her, too.

After spending 169 days in a hospital, the family was finally able to take Georgia home for the first time

After spending 169 days in a hospital, the family was finally able to take Georgia home for the first time

After spending 169 days in a hospital, the family was finally able to take Georgia home for the first time.

“I was both terrified and excited because in the hospital if we were worried about something, we could just hit a buzzer and a nurse would come. Now it’s all up to me,” Larissa said.

Beautiful little Georgia is thriving at home despite contracting rhinovirus twice and having Covid.

“We are 110 percent grateful and so lucky to be able to take her home. She’s catching up with her development, but she’s getting there,” Larissa said.

Now 11 months old, Larissa described Georgia as the “sauliest little baby” who always smiles, waves at people and knows when she’s done something wrong.

“She’s an incredible baby and always draws everyone to her,” she said.

#Baby #breast #cancer #survivor #born #heart

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