Dying Baby Miraculously Saved By Last Minute Heart Transplant
Little Lincoln Seay was born with a birth defect putting his heart on the wrong side of his body. And things weren’t looking good. But just as the baby boy was turning blue and on the verge of death, he got a last minute heart transplant that saved his life!
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Lincoln’s parents, Mindy and Rob Seay, found out 20 weeks into the pregnancy things weren’t quite right. Lincoln had a birth defect called heterotaxy syndrome — a condition that caused his heart and other organs to develop on opposite sides of his body.
Prior to Lincoln, Mindy had two miscarriages. So, she and Rob faced the challenges with determination.
“Okay, he’s going to need some special care? I’m game. We can handle that,” Mindy says she thought to herself.
“We’ve both been around special needs kids for a long time. It wasn’t terrifying to me.”
Lincoln had his first open-heart surgery just twelve hours after he was born. Doctors put a shunt in an artery. And for a while, things were good.
Change Of Plans
The plan was to perform a series of open-heart surgeries on Lincoln over a span of five years. But it soon became clear the boy’s tiny heart simply couldn’t do its job.
The Seays temporarily relocated from Anchorage, Alsaks to Seattle, Washington where Lincoln could get the best care possible. Doctors became increasingly worried over the 7-month-old’s condition, as did his parents.
“We both knew it: He was out of time,” Mindy said. “He was declining to the point where he wouldn’t wake up for very long.”
They broke the devastating news to Lincoln’s parents — their little boy would only survive about six weeks with his current heart. He’d need a transplant if he was going to live.
“We had no idea that a heart transplant was even possible,” Rob said. “My first reaction was, ‘You guys do those? That actually happens?'”
In fact, it does happen. But it’s not quick or easy.
Finding an available donor is tough enough. But the process of finding a heart transplant for an infant is especially difficult.
“Because of his size, it had to be a young child,” explained Michael McMullan, Seattle Children's surgical director of heart transplantation.
In short, it was going to take a miracle to save Lincoln.
Last Minute Heart Transplant
Doctors tried to find Lincoln a donor. But six weeks came and went with no success. Things were looking grim.
And then the baby boy went into cardiac arrest.
Doctors succeeded in reviving him, but everyone could tell Lincoln’s time was running out. It was pure agony for Mindy and Rob. They were literally watching the life leave their precious child.
“Those days were the toughest,” Rob said. “His color became purple. … That’s when true despair started to set in.”
But those moments of weakness are when God does his best work. And just as things looked worse than ever before, a last minute heart transplant became available!
“We have a list of patients and he was the one we were most concerned about. I think he was about to die on us,” recalled surgical director Michael McMullan. “Right before he fell off the edge, a heart became available.”
Lincoln wasn’t out of the woods yet, though.
As doctors were prepping for surgery, the baby boy went into cardiac arrest. But God had His hand on this little angel. Doctors managed to put him on the heart bypass machine and get him stabilized.
“The remarkable thing was we were able to get him on machine quickly,” Michael McMullen said. “It can take two hours and we did it in 12 minutes and doing CPR.”
Triumph From Tragedy
The transplant surgery was a success! But it was a bittersweet victory. It came with the heavy realization that the last minute heart transplant that saved Lincoln’s life meant another family was grieving the loss of their own child.
“There’s nothing I want more than for my son to live, but I hate that another child has to pass for that to happen,” Mindy said.
And so, Mindy wrote a letter of gratitude to the mother of the anonymous donor for the incredible sacrifice they’d made.
The letter reads, in part:
“I want you to know that I will always have the utmost respect for the gift we will be given,” she wrote. “I will treasure that heart more than I've ever treasured any gift. I will care for that gift to the very best of my ability and will be sure we always give reverence and respect to the child and family from which it came. We may never now you by name, but I will know you deep in my soul.”
“Your child and mine will be forever entertwined (sic) as the heart that grew in your womb now pumps the blood through the body of the child created in mine. They have merged in a way, and your child will forever live on in mine. When my child bleeds, I will think of you. When I bandage his scraped knee, I will think of you. When I hear his heart beat, I will remember you. When his eyes flutter closed as he falls asleep, I will remember your beautiful child. I will say prayers of gratitude and blessings over your family, often. I will treasure the gift you've given. I promise.”
You can read Mindy’s full letter by clicking HERE.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
While Lincoln still battles health problems, each day with him is a gift from God. His life is truly a miracle — one for which his parents give thanks each day!
h/t: ABC News
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