Mikey Lovf is four months old. He has just a few weeks left to live.
When Mikey’s mum Melissa Lovf went to her 12-week pregnancy scan late last year, she was told her unborn baby had a heart problem – a single ventricle cardiac issue.
“We were offered the option of termination,” the Melbourne mum remembers, “but were also told that with approximately three open-heart surgeries – one at a couple of days old, another at three months and another at three-years-old – Mikey had a good chance at having a good, happy quality of life.”
Mikey arrived “looking like a perfectly happy healthy little boy”. But an MRI revealed terrible news. On top of what he had, he was diagnosed with total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage.
“This meant he was having his first open-heart surgery within 36 hours of birth,” Lovf says. “We got to hold him the morning of his surgery and were told he only had 50/50 odds of survival.”
Happily, the surgery was a success. So was a second operation to put in a shunt.
“Our lion man was such a fighter and we were so proud of him.”
Lovf took Mikey home.
"For 18 wonderful days we played happy families and thought we were on track to give our boy a good life. No tubes, no assistance, just a five-week-old baby."
But when Mikey began struggling to keep his feeds down, a scan showed that his veins had narrowed. This was the worst possible news. A surgeon offered to carry out an operation that had only a minimal chance of success, and Lovf agreed. But the results came back, showing the operation had been unsuccessful.
"There was nothing else that could be done for Mikey, except to make him comfortable. The guide they gave is a few months at most.
"The news broke us. Our little boy Mikey, who was so full of life and just starting to show his personality, was out of options."