NBC White House Correspondent Carol Lee and her husband, Lt. Col. Ryan Harmon, are expecting their first child together, a boy.
Lee, 43, is currently six months pregnant and due in June. She is also mom to 8-year-old son Hudson Lee.
The couple, who struggled with infertility and experienced a heartbreaking miscarriage, couldn’t believe their luck when they conceived through IVF on their first transfer.
But when Lee hit the 16-week mark, a blood test picked up an abnormality that required an ultrasound. Shortly after, Lee’s unborn baby was diagnosed with a rare but serious congenital heart defect called transposition of the great arteries, or TGA.
Lee was devastated.
“I thought we were in the clear,” she told TODAY Parents. “I thought we were done crying.”
Lee and Harmon’s son will undergo open heart surgery at roughly 3 days old, and then spend several weeks in the hospital. Lee noted that specialists are hopeful that he'll grow up to be "a regular, normal kid."
“The part that terrifies me the most is bringing him home,” Lee said. “I’m basically going to stare at him 24 hours a day watching him breathe. I don’t know how I am going to sleep."
Lee credits Harmon, 36, for keeping her calm when her mind starts to go to a bad place.
“Ryan is really positive and keeps reminding me that we have the best doctors and everything is going to be OK. Our job is to set our baby up to thrive," Lee explained. “This has been a difficult journey with a lot of setbacks, but we still feel incredibly lucky.”
TGA is a medical condition in which the two main arteries carrying blood out of the heart are switched, according to Dr. Chris Caldarone, chief of congenital heart surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital.
“What happens is the left side of the heart is normally supposed to pump the blood flow to the body and the right side of the heart pumps the blood flow to the lungs,” Caldarone told TODAY Parents. “In transposition those two arteries are reversed.”
Caldarone estimates that TGA affects 20 to 30 infants per 100,000 live births.