Parents Share Son’s Story of Survival in Honor of Heart Health Awareness


In addition to Black History Month, February is also Heart Health Awareness Month. In honor of that, a Poplar Grove couple is sharing their 11-month-old son’s incredible story.

Brody Bates is living with a heart condition that doctors said would end his life before it even started. The little one not only has a congenital heart defect, but Dandy Walker malformation also. Between both, doctors told his parents his chance of survival would be minimal. But a year later, he is hitting all his milestones and beginning to walk.

When Brody’s mother Jaclyn was still pregnant, she paid a visit to the doctor where she was told his heart flatlined and that soon her body would naturally have a miscarriage. Days later, her husband Jeremy bought a Baby Doppler to keep track of the loss of the heart rhythm for their family’s closure. Moments after using it, they were surprised.

“He put it on and he was like wait a minute, i hear a heart beat,” said Brody’s mom Jaclyn Bates. “[I said] that’s nothing and he’s like ‘No, I really think that’s a heart beat.’ So, I called the doctor again and asked him if he could check me one last time.”

At 20 weeks pregnant., the baby’s heartbeat had made a miraculous recovery. But, the doctors advised her the baby would still have brain damage and have no quality of life, and that they should terminate her pregnancy.

“If he turned around after I figured out he had a heart beat again,” said Brody’s dad Jeremy Bates. “I said ‘If he was going to fight, we were going to fight with him’. We weren’t going to do it, and this is what we got.”

The Bates remained hopeful, but they say they were convinced he wasn’t going to make it. But, on February 18th, Brody Bates defied all odds.

“The doctor pulled him out of there and he started crying,” said Jeremy Bates. “He started peeing all over the place. It was very emotional.”

Brody was rushed to a hospital in Chicago where he had brain surgery at two weeks old. The doctors originally thought he would need heart surgery immediately also, but were surprised to see his heart was functioning well. They diagnosed Brody with a cortation in his aorta — meaning the large blood vessel is narrowed. When this occurs, the heart must pump harder to force blood through the narrowed part of the aorta.

“If that gets more narrow, then it’s going to cut off the blood supply,” said Jaclyn Bates. “Then, they’ll have to put a stint in. Plus, he has the holes in the middle of the heart and his left side is bigger than his right side.”

And while Brody’s heart might have a few defects, his parents say it doesn’t impact his happiness.

“He definitely has a huge heart,” said said Jaclyn Bates. “Bigger heart than anyone I’ve ever met. The way he just smiles at every single body.”

Brody will be going to his heart doctor on Tuesday. His parents will find out if he will need surgery or if it continues to function alone just fine.

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