Sarah and Mike Hannah from Prince Edward Island were a couple heading into one of the biggest adventures of their lives, becoming parents for the first time! They were extremely excited and looking forward to what was to come! The Hannah’s were living in Halifax when they found out they were pregnant as Mike was attending Dalhousie University as a medical student. Sarah was referred to the IWK’s Perinatal Clinic where during their 20-week ultrasound a heart abnormality was detected in their unborn child.
“We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been living in Halifax so close to the IWK when we found out we were pregnant.” – Sarah Hannah
Sarah was referred to the IWK Children’s Heart Centre where she was followed for the remainder of her pregnancy.
At 36 weeks, during Sarah’s weekly assessment, a decision was made to immediately deliver their baby as additional heart abnormalities were detected. An hour later they were admitted, and baby Whixley quickly arrived. She was then taken to the IWK’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
For the next seven weeks, the Hannah family remained in the IWK’s NICU to ensure that Whixley continued to gain weight and get stronger each day. When Whixley was able to go home for the first time with her family, she continued to have monthly Holter monitor tests. In July 2021 at four months of age, she underwent a procedure to insert a pacemaker.
“It was such a scary time. Everyone at the IWK made sure we were part of every discussion and every single step. Despite the fear and the unknown, we always felt so incredibly supported. They took the time to get to know us,” says Sarah.
Whixley is now almost one year old and is doing extremely well! In a few years, she will require another surgery to replace her pacemaker. For now, she is followed by the team at the Children’s Heart Centre to ensure she remains healthy and strong. Whixley is an IWK hero.