Young boy battles severe heart defect, endures multiple heart surgeries
Dec 2, 2021, 10:16 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — That first cry. That first embrace. And then the heart-breaking moment when Jenna had to hand her newborn baby over to the medical team who would save him.
Before Talmage was born, Jenna and Rob knew they would need to rely on science, surgery and their faith to get them through what was to come.
“They told us that he had a severe heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means, virtually, he only has half of a heart,” Jenna said. “And it was significant and hard news to get about our little baby on the way.”
That was at Jenna’s 20-week ultrasound appointment.
“We were presented, you know, a couple different options on how to proceed with Talmage — one of them being not to proceed with the surgeries, and, you know, letting nature take its course,” Jenna said.
“This isn’t like a few hours or a couple of days,” Talmage’s father Rob said. “And that first heart surgery happens right away. It happened for Talmage on day three.”
“These little babies are just tiny, and so they’re in there doing this complex, intense surgery on just a brand new little baby, tiny little heart,” he said.
“I just trusted the surgeon and those doctors, and I knew that Talmage was in the best hands at Primary Children’s Hospital,” Jenna said. “They can be hooked up to a million machines and lots of stuff going on, but all we saw was our just sweet, newborn little boy.”
Since that first surgery, Talmage has had two more complex, open-heart surgeries.
He will eventually need a heart transplant.
“There’s always kind of something going on, and we just kind of take it one step at a time with him,” Jenna said.
“We’re so grateful for Primary Children’s. The sacrifice they make to help those kids day in and day out,” Rob said. “You put your kid’s life in their hands and they show up and they give it their all.”
These past few years have taught this family how precious life is.
Today, they choose to live with love, joy and happiness.
“I think one of the biggest blessings Talmage’s life has given me, and probably us, is to stay in the moment and really relish in them and enjoy them, and not worry about what’s happened before, and don’t look too far ahead and try just live life with him,” Jenna said. “And he lives life to the fullest. He’s such a sweet, happy little boy.”
Nearly everyone in our community has been touched by the work done at Primary Children’s Hospital.
We hope you will be generous and donate to the Give-A-Thon.
You can do so by going to KSLKids.com.