Faith and friends help a local family as newborn waits for heart surgery

Valerie Lick • Jun 26, 2018 at 8:30 AM

Jack Silas Breeding weighs nine and a half pounds, has long, beautiful eyelashes … and is currently being treated at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for a heart defect.

Overnight, Spencer and Brittany Breeding’s lives were turned upside down. In a June 15 Facebook post, the day after Jack’s birth, Spencer told friends and family about his and Brittany’s reaction to the diagnosis. “These past nine months, Brittany and I have gone over every scenario, the girls putting makeup on him, him going fishing with his daddy, him watching ball with me on the couch with his orange on ... all of it. But nothing could have prepared us for the news we received yesterday.”

When Jack was born on June 14, the professionals at Holston Valley Medical Center Hospital told parents Brittany and Spencer that the boy was having trouble breathing. Within hours, they were told that their son had transposition of the great arteries, a congenital defect that affects the placement of the arteries and prevents normal blood flow to and from the heart. Jack was flown via jet to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for an emergency medical procedure, with Brittany and Spencer following by car.

The days following Jack’s birth were stressful for both parents, but they drew strength from their faith. The couple spends at least eight hours a day in the hospital. “The only way our minds are eased is when we’re with him,” Spencer told the Times News.

Jack’s luck began to change on June 16. Brittany and Spencer were overjoyed when they found out that their son was in stable condition. Not only that, but a cardiologist informed them that Jack was expected to make a full recovery after his upcoming open heart surgery. “We were ecstatic,” said Spencer. “We know he’s in the best hands possible.”

More than 40 cardiologists, surgeons, and other specialists met last week at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to make plans for each of their patients’ treatments. Brittany and Spencer eagerly await news on Jack’s surgery date. Jack will remain at the hospital for at least another two to three weeks. His parents will be staying nearby at a Ronald McDonald House as part of a charity that helps families of sick children stay together as they pursue treatment.

Spencer and Brittany were married at First Broad Street United Methodist Church. They live in Kingsport along with their daughters, who are currently on vacation with their grandparents.

“One of the hardest things has been being away from the girls!” Brittany said in a June 16 Facebook update.

The family members video call one another every day, so Jack’s sisters have been able to see him. Brittany and Spencer look forward to the day the girls can meet their new brother in person.

Brittany is confident that the family will emerge from the ordeal stronger than ever. Spencer agrees: “We know we have a long road ahead of us, but we’re optimistic that we’ll come out of it happy and healthy.”

Spencer, Brittany, and their children have been met with an outpouring of support from their community. One of the family’s close friends created a GoFundMe campaign for Jack’s expenses. It can be found at www.gofundme.com/blessings-for-the-breedings.

“It’s not something we ever expected happening,” said Spencer. “We were shocked. And the monetary donations have really helped us, … but it’s the prayers that have meant the most.”

Well-wishers can also send cards, candy, balloons, and other gifts of encouragement to Jack’s room:

Boy Brittany Breeding

NICU Room 4566

Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital

2200 Children’s Way

Nashville, TN 37232

Brittany finally got to hold her son on June 17.

“Never take for granted the little things,” she said in a Facebook update. “Hold your babies tight.”

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