Micah and Jeff Commander were excited to add another to their growing brood, and even more excited to learn they were having twins. But midway through the pregnancy, they learned that one of the girls, Sophie, would be born with a rare congenital heart defect that, if left untreated, could lead to congestive heart failure, heart murmurs and abnormal heart rhythms.
Upon hearing this news, Micah and her husband, Jeff, spent the remainder of the pregnancy preparing and educating themselves about this condition. They planned to give birth at Abbott Northwestern to be in close proximity of Children’s – Minneapolis for Sophie’s care.
Sulli was born first, weighing in at 5lbs 14oz and 17 inches while Sophie was born at 6 lbs 7 oz and 19 1/4 inches long. Sophie was rushed through the tunnel to Children’s NICU, where she stayed while doctors assessed her condition and created a game plan to treat the symptoms that might accompany her heart defect. During their stay, Micah recalls the care they received. “Childrens was truly amazing,” Micah says. “The staff, processes and knowledge are top notch. We were so lucky to be in such a great place.”
Sophie went home, and while her symptoms began to appear several months later, she wouldn’t need immediate surgery. During that time, Micah and Jeff worked closely with cardiologists at Children’s to monitor Sophie’s condition. More than a year after her birth, their doctor recommended that they take her to an out-of-state hospital for the surgeries needed to repair her heart. “I credit our doctor at Children’s for saving Sophie’s life,” Micah says. “She knew that Sophie’s condition was rare, and I am so grateful for the insight she had to refer us to a hospital whose experience with these surgeries would be able to help Sophie.”
Micah and Jeff now work closely with care teams at both hospitals. And while Sophie is still undergoing surgeries, her condition is stable and under control.
Following their experience with Sophie’s condition, the Commanders wanted a chance to give back. Last year, they rallied family and friends to join them at HeartBeat 5000 to help raise funds for the cardiovascular program at Children’s. They are doing the same this year, with a goal to have an even larger team. “We want to do whatever we can to make it easier for others to receive the best care close to home,” says Micah.