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GUNNAR DOMINIC BICKHARDT

BORN JULY 29,2018

Having a baby is both scary and exciting….that is just how Justin & Lillian
Bickhardt felt when they were on their way to the hospital to have their second
son. All was going just as it should, until little Gunnar Dominic was born. Weighing
in at 7lbs. 4.4oz and 21” long he came out as perfect as can be to his mom & dad,
but to the Dr. and nurses something was just not right. Later that night, doctors
discovered that Gunnar was suffering from Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.
Gunner was immediately sent to New York Presbyterian Children”s Hospital where
he would stay for 31 days.
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a birth defect that affects normal
blood flow through the heart. As the baby develops during pregnancy, the left
side of the heart does not form correctly.

HLHS requires three surgeries over the next 3 years of life.

Norwood Procedure
This surgery is usually done within the first 2 weeks of a baby’s life. Surgeons
create a “new” aorta and connect it to the right ventricle. They also place a tube
from either the aorta or the right ventricle to the vessels supplying the
lungs(pulmonary arteries).Thus, the right ventricle can pump blood to both the
lungs and the rest of the body. This can be a very challenging surgery. After this
procedure, the infants skin can still look bluish because oxygen-rich and oxygen-
poor blood still mixes in the heart.

Bi-directional Glenn Shunt Procedure


This is usually performed when an infant is 4-6 months of age. The procedure
creates a direct connection between the pulmonary artery and the vessel(the
superior vena cava) returning oxygen-poor blood from the upper part of the
body to the heart. This reduces the work the right ventricle has to do by allowing
blood returning from the body to flow directly to the lungs.

Fontan Procedure
This procedure is usually done sometime during the period when an infant is 18
months to 3 years of age. Doctors connect the pulmonary artery and the vessel
(the inferior vena cava) returning oxygen-poor blood from the lower part of the
body to the heart, allowing the rest of the blood coming back from the body to
go to the lungs. Once the procedure is complete, oxygen- rich and oxygen-poor
blood no longer mix in the heart and an infants skin will no longer look bluish.

While we are happy to announce that Gunnar has successfully recovered from the
Norwood Procedure, and is at home with his Mom & Dad and big brother Bryce,
the next three years are going to be extremely tough for Gunnar and his family.
Gunnar is restricted from Daycare and interactions with young children for the
next three years requiring Lillian to take a leave of absence from her teaching job
for the next year, and then having a nanny come to their home while Gunnar
recovers from these three surgeries.

Asking for help has always been a hard thing for us, but it is times like these that
the good in great people seem to make it so much easier. We thank you all for just
taking the time to read this bio, and hope to see you all at the golf outing!

Love, Gunnar, Bryce, Lillian, & Justin