Crystal and her husband Bobby were excited when they found out they were expecting their first child. Everything about their pregnancy was routine up until Crystal's sixth-month mark. At a routine ultrasound appointment, the imaging technologist was unable to find the baby's heart. Crystal and Bobby were referred to Stan Wright, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist with Sutter Children's Center for further evaluation.
"We found out that our baby had a heart defect and that she would need surgery within her first few months of life," Crystal says. "The thought of your newborn baby having to undergo surgery is overwhelming."
Crystal continued to have a healthy pregnancy and delivered her baby girl, Keira, with no complications. Keira was immediately transported to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sutter Memorial Hospital so she could be under the care of neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists and pediatric heart surgeons Teimour Nasirov, M.D., and Naurito Watanabe, M.D.
"When we were in the NICU I received a call from Dr. Nasirov to introduce himself, and I was impressed that he would take time out of his schedule to check in with me," Crystal says. "When we met in person with Dr. Nasirov and Dr. Watanabe they made us feel so comfortable and educated about Keira's surgery and her plan of care. And from there on I was continually made aware that we had chosen the right team."
Unfortunately because of Keira's heart defect, her body started failing. She had heart failure, liquid in her lungs and wasn't gaining weight fast enough. While the team originally wanted to wait a few months to perform Keira's surgery, they decided it would have to be moved up.
"The day of her surgery we put our brave faces on," Crystal says. "But when they took her into the operating room we lost it. It was a rough few hours, but Dr. Wright would come out often to update and reassure us. And at the end of the surgery Dr. Watanabe let us know that Keira had an atrial septal defect and a ventricular septal defect, and both had been repaired."
After six days recovering in Sutter's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Keira was able to return home with her parents. "Before surgery we would get a little smile from Keira here and there," Bobby says. "But just a few days after surgery the difference was truly noticeable."
After a few more weeks of recovery, Keira was able to enjoy all the same activities as other babies her age. Moving forward, Keira will continue to see Dr. Wright for echocardiograms.
"We're so excited to enjoy our newborn period without the worry we had about her health issues before the surgery," Crystal says. "We are so thankful for our Sutter team."