On September 10, 2001, Melissa Smith went into labor, excited to give birth to a healthy baby girl, but Melissa said shortly after daughter Morgan was born she went into distress.
Doctors discovered Morgan was born with transposition of the great arteries and coarctation of the aorta and would need open heart surgery to survive.
“He said I can promise you she’ll be alive when you see her next, but I can’t promise you she will live,” recalled Melissa when thinking back to a conversation she had with the cardiologist who performed her daughter’s surgery.
At just two weeks old Morgan underwent the eight-hour long procedure at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock.
“We just didn’t know if our daughter was going to live or not. Just completely trusting the doctors and the medical team because as parents, all we could do is sit and pray and watch,” said Melissa.
Now, 17 years later, Morgan is the captain of her school’s dance team and is a senior at Farmington High School.
“No matter what you have going on, you can accomplish whatever you want and push through it,” Morgan said with a smile.
Though Morgan has learned to live with her heart condition, it hasn’t always been easy, especially since much of her life she had to travel to Little Rock for treatment.
Since the opening of Arkansas Children’s Northwest, Morgan is now treated much closer to home.
“It makes it a lot easier for me to do school and dance and I don’t have to miss it as much because we can just come straight to here and not have to drive three hours to see the doctors anymore,” said Morgan.