Maxon Dale’s Story

Site created on July 14, 2018

      At 17 weeks pregnant, we went for a routine OB appointment to find out the gender of our first child. Although we were extremely excited to find out that we would be having a little boy, the ultrasound showed an issue with our baby boy's heart. After being sent to a cardiologist in Indianapolis, we received some of the worst news we could get.  Our baby had Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. We were told, of heart defects, this is the worst.
      The left side of his heart was not developing. HLHS is treatable, however it is not curable. From there we learned our son would have a series of  three open heart surgeries. The surgeries would be the Norwood, then the Bi-Directional Glenn Shunt, then the Fontan procedure. These surgeries re-route arteries and blood flow in order to allow the right side of the heart to function for the whole body. We cannot live with only the right side of our hearts, so the right side must be rerouted to do the job that the left would have.
       Having not felt comfortable with the hospital team we were working with throughout this process, Jessica reached out to a well known surgeon and set up a meeting with him. It only took a few minutes of meeting this man that we decided to switch hospitals, doctors, and surgeon at 35 weeks into our pregnancy. After many doctors appointments, research, prayers, and tears we headed to IU Health and Riley Children’s Hospital where were prepared to call home for at least the next month and possibly many more. It was the scariest thing either one of us had ever had to deal with, but Jessica had faith and found peace in our new surgeon.
     Maxon Dale Melton was born on July 9, 2018 at 1:02pm (6lbs 9 oz   20 3/8 inches long). Jessica opted for a c section to make sure our surgeon would be available. He had an upcoming birthday party out of state for his grandchild and we knew he would be leaving the following week. At only 2 hrs old, baby Maxon was transported to Riley Children’s Hospital where he would be stabilized and prepped for his first surgery. However, Jessica remained at Methodist Hospital where she needed to recover.
       After Maxon's first echo, they weren’t happy with the size of the opening between the two sides of the heart. He had to have a heart cathe to open it up more in order to get the blood flow needed to make it to the big surgery on the 12th. Luckily Jess  was discharged the day before so she could spend a little time with her little guy before his big day. 
       The Norwood procedure is the first of the three surgeries and was scheduled for Thursday July 12, 2018. At 6 AM we met Pastor Jason at Maxon's bedside where we prayed and walked Max to the operating room at 7:15 am. We waited with our family and pastor in the waiting room. At 4:30 pm our surgeon called for us to review the details. The surgery was successful, and things were on track. During the operation one of Maxon's arterys did not look right to our surgeon. He was 90% done with the surgery when he had to stop and work on the artery that had been damaged. Thank goodness our surgeon found it and was able to fix it. We thanked our surgeon and took deep breaths of relief. 
     Maxon had been a rockstar. After a 5 hour surgery, we were able to go back and see him on the 3rd floor. This was an extremely tough visit to the Cardiovascular ICU. We knew he would look differently, with lots of tubes and swelling. Luckily he was still recognizable and was comfortable. We were told the next 12 hours would be a rollar coaster of ups and downs while they worked on his numbers and levels to keep him stable. We were constently asking if he was stable, comfortable, and if we were going be okay or if he was going backwards. The worst part was waiting and not knowing from hour to hour if his condition would change. He was great and God answered many prayers while watching over Maxon Dale.
     July 14th:  For the last two days, Max has been pretty stable for having his sternum still open. All of his numbers are where the doctors like to see them so they are planning to close up the sternum Monday. Maxon has been a fighter through all this, he has already stolen many hearts. The nurses and doctors have been amazing and have turned into our second family!  Now let’s pray for another good day as we continue this heart journey with Max!

Newest Update

Journal entry by Jessica Melton

Yesterday Max had a routine check up with his Riley cardiologist. His echo and EKG all looked as expected and his doctor was pleased with how things are going. Because Max is doing well, we will continue to plan for surgery number 3 next summer/fall. 

With covid and the upcoming flu/rsv season,  Max still has to be isolated from others. So we will continue to keep him safe. A cold is not just a cold for heart warriors. It is always nice to be reassured by his Riley team we are doing everything possible to keep him safe and healthy.  Now if only we could get everyone else to understand...
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