CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Meet the newest one of our amazing #MollysKids: Nick Smith.
Nick lives in Concord with his mom, Robin, dad, Anthony, and older sister Morgan. He is 11-years old now and if school starts in a traditional way in the fall, he’ll walk 6th grade middle school hallways.
“But it took us a long time to get here,” Robin wrote. “Nick was born in 2009 in Charlotte. When I was 18-weeks pregnant, I was told his heart didn’t form properly and he’d need three open heart surgeries. Three of them! If he didn’t get them, I was told he wouldn’t survive. So, he had his first open heart surgery at only 1-month-old.”
Robin said it was scary, and devastating.
“No one could prepare me for what my baby would look like in recovery,” she said. “It was a hard three weeks in the hospital.”
Nick’s second surgery came four months later, in August.
“He was going great until the day after the surgery,” Robin said. “I’d fed him a bottle and all of a sudden, something didn’t feel right. I was holding him and looked down, and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head. Luckily, his chest was still open and I yelled and all the doctors came in within seconds. They had to manually pump his heart for 40-minutes.”
Robin said doctors were certain Nick would have brain damage He didn’t, and still doesn’t.
“No brain damage whatsoever,” said Robin. “That seems like a miracle.”
It was a slow recovery from that second surgery; Robin said they were in the hospital for close to a month and Nick went home on oxygen, a feeding tube, and with a therapy schedule. But, they made it.
Nick’s third and final open heart surgery came when he was three, in March of 2012.
Things were going well, but in January of 2013, Nick was diagnosed with a heart block. His oxygen was getting really far down and he had to have a pacemaker put in.
“Things move at amazing levels though,” Robin said. “He was good for almost seven years. Last December I was called at work to tell me he had a fracture in his pacemaker--the doctor had detected a problem and realized it wasn’t working at full capacity. It left us needing to watch him undergo yet another surgery to replace it, and knowing Nick will need the pacemaker for the rest of his life.”
With coronavirus and hospital restrictions, Nick’s recent meetings with his cardiologist have been over the phone... but...overall, Robin said, her son is doing great.
“Like so many of these #MollysKids you feature,” Robin said. “He’s just a normal kid. He loves WWE. He has over 50 wrestlers and several rings. He loves to play with friends and on his X-box. He’ll go into the 6th grade this fall at @Harold Winkler Middle School [I can’t believe my baby is going into middle school!]. He is a miracle of the finest kind and a kind-hearted child. He loves his sister more than anything... she has always been like his second mom. They have a remarkably close relationship.”
Robin said her faith has grown immensely over the past 11-years, since learning of her son’s heart defect. Education she felt compelled to share.
Thank you, Robin, for sharing your son with us.
*Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.