BIG HEARTS FOR SAMUEL
Moms around the country are celebrated on Mother’s Day.
It’s the one day every year that the world seems to slow down and appreciate all the hard work moms do behind the scenes, typically with little to no recognition. This was not the case for one Edmond mother.
On May 22, 2016, Dacia Harris shared news with her family and friends that would cause hearts around the nation to break for her family. With this photo Dacia wrote,
“I don’t know what you see when you look at this picture…The doctors see a rare defect. Only half a heart. A misplaced heart. I see a purpose. My son who will be a living testimony to the absolute power of his loving Heavenly Father and ALL will see how great is our God! I am honored God chose us for this special assignment. A journey that will encourage the hearts of many.”
One doctor’s appointment that should have been routine proved her unborn son, Samuel, was facing the challenge of a lifetime as his life was only just beginning. He was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, Dextrocardia and a septal defect.
“I tried my hardest to listen really well,” Dacia wrote in her blog at WholeHeartedlyBlessed.com. “But in a surreal sort of way, my mind refused to keep pace and grasp the meaning of [the doctor’s] echoing words… He showed us Sam’s heart, and in that instant, mine broke. I doubted the tears would ever stop.”
From this point on for Dacia, her husband Mike and their then two-year-old son, Jack, life would be consumed by doctor’s appointments and trips to Dallas Children’s Medical Center, where Samuel and his tiny heart would be monitored by a team of specialists.
As more doctor’s appointments took place, more diagnoses were added to Samuel’s medical record. He didn’t have a spleen. His kidney was duplicated. He was diagnosed with Heterotaxy, which affected other internal organs.
They breathed. They prayed. Life pressed on. Then in September the phone rang.
“Mrs. Harris, we need you to come back to Dallas immediately — and be prepared to stay, if necessary,” Dacia quoted the nurse’s words, just a day after they returned home from the hospital. But this time, it wasn’t Samuel the doctors were worried about, it was Dacia.
She had an Atrial Septal Defect — a hole in the wall of her heart that separates the upper chambers of the heart. Together with Mike and Dacia, the doctors decided to wait to fix her defect until after Samuel’s birth, which was scheduled for October 3.
“The car ride home was quiet,” Dacia wrote in her blog. “I was so happy to be going home, but the events of the past two days began to smother me with another feeling…of being less than. That feeling only grew over the weekend, and I questioned every decision Mike and I had made up to that point. After weeks of struggling for my breath, I was growing tired and my body wanted to give up. If I didn’t have what it takes to be Samuel’s mom now, I wondered how I could possibly have it later—whatever ‘it’ was.”
Dacia said she found peace the next morning at church when reading Joshua 1:9 which reads, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
With newfound peace, they waited until it was time to return to Dallas, where they would live at the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas until after Samuel’s birth.
The 37-week sonogram was another wrench in the machine. Samuel needed to be above the 10th percentile to be out of the immediate danger zone. He was in the seventh percentile, putting him at greater risk for stillbirth. Waiting for his scheduled birth on Oct. 3 was no longer an option.
Samuel Shepherd Harris was delivered via C-section at 38 weeks on Sept. 22, 2016, and weighed an impressive 6 lbs. 4 oz..
Samuel is now almost three months old. His childhood will be a challenge. It will include more doctors, surgeries and struggles. But it will be worth it.
Knowing the immense financial burden Mike and Dacia would face for an indefinite period of time, Mike’s mother created aGoFundMe campaign to allow friends and family to contribute to the family’s medical bills.
The campaign, called “Big Hearts for Samuel,” can be found at GoFundMe.com/BigHearts4Sam, and is frequently updated with news on Samuel’s progress.
Those wishing to donate via PayPal may do so at PayPal.me/BigHeartsforSamuel.