Olivia’s Story


The Snyder family’s journey with Olivia’s Congenital Heart Defect began during a follow up anatomy ultrasound at 22 weeks, where they were referred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a cardiac ECHO.  The team at CHOP’s Fetal Heart Program welcomed them with open arms as they discussed Liv’s diagnosis.  Prenatally, Olivia wasn’t given a clear diagnosis.  The left side of her heart was severely underdeveloped & it wasn’t initially clear if her left ventricle would be viable, which could lead to a diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  Liv’s heart would be monitored every 4 weeks & her postnatal plan would become more clear with time.  During the remainder of the pregnancy, CHOP’s Fetal Diagnosis and Fetal Heart Program became a second home.  Appointments were extremely long and emotionally draining.  They will be forever grateful for the extremely empathetic team supporting them during an extremely difficult time.


Fortunately, Olivia’s left ventricle continued to grow.  The plan was to deliver Olivia right at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in their Special Delivery Unit.  On June 2, 2014, Olivia Mary came into the world fast & furious, with a quick 2 hour labor.  It was such a fast labor that big brother was along for the ride & was there to meet his new sister.


She was immediately stabilized & moved to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, where she underwent thorough testing to determine the best surgical plan to repair her heart.  Mom & Dad began bonding immediately!


delivery  Nicole_Birth-190

Liv underwent heart surgery at 4 days old to repair her Coarctation of the Aorta, in hopes that the left side of her heart would rise to the occasion & work sufficiently.  Olivia was a rockstar during and after surgery!  To date, the left side of her heart has grown to a normal size & is functioning appropriately.

Her family continued to support her as she recovered at CHOP’s CICU.  Lots of kangaroo care and learning how to support her needs at home were part of the daily routine for the Snyder’s.



After continuing to amaze her doctors & nurses, Liv was discharged after a two week stay.  Liv will continue to receive cardiac care throughout her life & the Snyder’s are so fortunate to receive that care with the world’s best cardiology team.


Olivia is a wonderfully loving, joyful & thriving little girl.  Her strength & perseverance amaze her family on a daily basis.  She loves her brothers and cousins, creating art, playing with her friends, running in Healthy Kids running races & using her vivid imagination as she explores the world around her.


Liv’s cardiac care at CHOP consists of frequent EKG, ECHO & cardiac evaluation.  She handles all appointments, including various alternative medicine appointments, with such grace & patience.  Currently, she has a Bicuspid Aortic Valve with trivial leaking; a subaortic membrane that will need open heart surgery in the near future to remove & close monitoring of the gradients across her BAV.


Our hero.  Our warrior.  Thankful that she lives with all her heart.


To read Olivia’s journey until her 1st birthday, click here: http://hellobabysister.blogspot.com/