Mom of four loses everything as she waits for 8-month-old to receive heart transplant

A mother of four has lost just about everything she owned just to be near her baby.

8-months-old Autumn Fox needs a heart transplant to live.

The little girl is currently hooked up to life support in a cardiovascular ICU and no one knows how much longer the family will wait for a donor.

Autumn was born eight weeks early and had genetic issues along with brain bleeds.

“I didn’t get to see her,” her mother Nicole said. “It was nine days before I got to hold her.”

The family discovered that Autumn had heart issues and would have to have a heart transplant soon after she was born.

Autumn is now waiting at Shands Hospital on life support, hooked up to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine that takes over the baby’s breathing from her heart implant and lungs.

According to her mother, it may take six months to a year to get her daughter a new heart. Doctors told the family that Autumn’s heart was only functioning at about 25 percent of its capacity.

“She’s on, basically, full life support,” Autumn’s mother, Nicole Smith, told local news outlet WCTV.

“The brain bleeds were completely different. The heart issue is completely different and the genetic issues are completely different. They don’t all tie into each other.”

Sadly, the family had to sacrificed their business, home and vehicle to be by Autumn’s side. Soon after Autumn was born the family saw themselves driving back and forth from Tallahassee, where the older children were, to Gainesville, where Autumn was hospitalized, everyday. The traveling costs quickly added up.

They decided to permanently uproot the family and move closer to the hospital and so they sold most of their belongings, including their car.

The family first moved into the Ronald McDonald house across from Shands Hospital. Later, they were able to get a nearby apartment with help from Aenon Baptist Church.

As you can imagine, the past six months have been a struggle.

Nicole admitted that she never had any indication that the baby would have complications before she was born.

To save Autumn’s life, another child would have to die for their heart to become available for Autumn.

For each day the infant remains on life support, her family must struggle with day-to-day expenses.

On a good day, her parents Nicole and Kevin, partners of nine years, can get a quick smile out of her. But the bad days are far more frequent.

“It’s very hard,” Smith said. “With a heart, you never know if you’re going to get called.”

Please keep Autumn in your prayers and share this story with all your friends and family on Facebook.


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