“Heart Warrior” Halle Spivey continues to defy the odds battling severe heart condition since birth
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - One 4-year-old College Station girl is known to friends and family as The Heart Warrior, and it’s because she has already overcome more adversity than most of us will face in our entire lives.
It’s just one reason why Halle Spivey’s version of normal is constantly defying the odds. Her battle with a heart condition called double inlet left ventricle has been a lot for her young age. It caused her to go into heart failure only months into her life. The procedure that saved her left Halle without a pulse or heartbeat for 27 minutes and forced doctors to amputate her right leg.
But whether she’s at the park or playing dress-up, Halle thinks of herself just as a typical 4-year-old.
“Play at the playground! Going down the big slide,” Halle said when asked about some of her favorite things to do at the park.
Her life, however, has been anything but typical.
“Essentially, her heart is considered just half a heart because she is missing that one ventricle, her right ventricle, and her oxygenated blood is actually mixed with her deoxygenated blood,” Autumn Spivey, who is Halle’s mom, said. “You would never know looking at her or being around her. She’s spunky, she’s sassy, and she plays just like a typical 4-year-old girl.”
Doctors told Autumn her daughter would be born with her heart condition in utero. Halle had three open-heart surgeries in her first four months. She spent her first eight months in the hospital. One of those nights, doctors rushed her to the ICU to save her from heart failure.
After doing everything they could to save her, Halle was without a heartbeat or pulse for 27 minutes.
“I hear last pulse check, and the nurse calls out no pulse. And I hear last pulse check again, and I hear them say ‘no pulse.’ They pull me over to Halle, and I’m leaning over her on the table just telling her how proud I am of her and how much she’s fought,” Autumn said. “I kissed her hand and looked up, and I heard the doctor say ‘get a line in,’ and the screen said her heart rate was at 183. I don’t think I remember what I was thinking. I had so many emotions happening at one time.”
Miraculously, Halle was alive. But complications from the procedure forced doctors to amputate her right leg. Halle got her first prosthesis when she was 18 months old, and she’s been walking on it without the aid of a walker since turning three.
“She thinks she’s invincible in that she can try and do anything,” Autumn said. “She’ll ask me, ‘Mommy, can I do this?’ And I never tell her no because we never know. We won’t know what she can do unless she gets to try it, and so we always give her that chance to try.”
Autumn says everything her daughter wants to do, she finds a way. It’s one of Halle’s many qualities her mom admires.
“Just always bringing joy wherever she goes, no matter what the situation is,” Autumn said. “She’s always so happy and thankful and grateful for things, and her perseverance to never give up. She’s been through so much in such a short amount of time.”
“I’m a heart warrior!” Halle said with pride.
Autumn says congenital heart conditions like Halle’s are more common in kids than one would think, as one in 100 children are born with some variation of one. She says things like drinking from a bottle a difficult for heart babies. Her advice to other families dealing with congenital heart conditions in their children is to stay positive and always be hopeful no matter what.
Halle will have what doctors hope will be her final open-heart surgery in April.
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