ProRodeo Sports News - June 26, 2020

Willett said. “I was 34 or 35 weeks along when I was told all this. That was a good thing that I was close to term and I had her three weeks premature. When she was born, they rushed her to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Bend, Ore., and started her on new medication. “With COVID-19, initially I could only go see her, and then eventually we could switch on and off. The medications they were giving her weren’t working. They kept trying different medications and they would work for like a day, but she would go back into SVT. It was nerve-wracking. If she stayed in SVT too long, she could go into heart failure.” FLIGHT FOR LIFE When the third medication didn’t work, hospital officials in Bend put Chloe andWillett on a Flight for Life to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore. “I pushed her little bed to ICU right after she was born,” Peebles said. “Sitting, watching her hooked up to all those breathing machines, and she had feeding tubes going down her nose into her throat. Her chest was bouncing. It put a grown man to his knees.” With Chloe and Sierra loaded in the helicopter, Peebles and Calvin, Willett’s 3-year-old son, had to make the three-hour drive to Portland. “Sierra called me with the news, and I packed everything, and I was hauling,” Peebles said. “I felt like I was trying to catch that helicopter. I needed to get there now. I didn’t know what was going on, and my emotions were just going up and down.” There was some relief for Sierra when she and Chloe arrived in Portland. “When we got to Portland we were really close to specialists,” Willett said. “But they had like a 48-baby unit where Chloe was. It was packed. They immediately started her on Flecainide, and it didn’t work for five minutes, and they started her on Sotalol. That worked. It kept her out of episodes. I stayed with her as long as I could.” In Portland, Peebles was still a nervous wreck.

all the time. You’re always worried. We are just grateful we caught it and the doctors check up on her. “We also have Steven’s whole family here in Redmond, and I have family here, as well. They have been really great with helping us.” SURGERY A POSSIBILITY Willett said Chloe can have surgery to fix the SVT, but that can’t be done until she gets older and bigger, typically between the ages of 6 and 10. “At 6 months old, they start to wean them off medication to see if they grow out of it, or they can have surgery,” Willett said. “The surgery is usually done when they are a little older and it is highly successful. What we are running into is that she is so small they can’t do the surgery yet. How soon they do the surgery is dependent on how responsive your child is to medication. … “Otherwise, she’s healthy, she eats really good. This is just one of those weird things where she developed an extra pathway.” Willett works as a real estate agent and can work from home. Peebles acknowledged the traumatic times have brought him and Sierra closer. “Going through something like this has really bonded us,” Peebles said. “I have been praying a lot and putting things in God’s hands.”

“Because of the coronavirus they were only allowing one parent in the hospital at a time,” he said. “Sierra might go in there for seven or eight hours with her, and I didn’t know what was going on because she wasn’t allowed to be on her cellphone. Every once in a while, when something bad was happening she would send a text message. I was in a hotel room for seven to eight hours just pacing. “Being a dad, all I want to do is protect my baby, Chloe. There’s nothing I could do to help her, and that was the most helpless feeling I have ever felt. I was a mess. I wanted to give my heart to her so they could put it in her chest. I would die for her to live.” The turn of events for Chloe was trying for Sierra and Steven – especially initially. “We were in shock when she had SVT and we never wanted to leave her side,” Willett said. “We were just so wrapped up in every hour and watching monitors and when she would go into episodes, we were heart broken. After the third day, I told Steven we are going to go crazy. We have to go home and reset and remember we are people too and have faith and pray about it and comfort each other. We need to trust that God is going to have a plan. We are so blessed in so many ways.” Though Chloe was released to go home, it has still been a bumpy path. “We took her home after a week in the hospital in Portland, and we thought she was in the clear,” Willett said. “We did her 72-hour heart monitor June 16, and on June 19 we got the results. They told us she had 38 episodes of SVT in three days, so we are starting another medication. We had no idea she was going through episodes. We check her heart

PRCA ProRodeo file photo Steven Peebles celebrates after winning the 2015 PRCA Bareback Riding World Championship. Peebles nearly lost his life on July 2 that year after suffering a broken rib that nicked an artery and filled his lungs with blood at the Livingston (Mont.) Roundup. He was rushed to the hospital and made it without a moment to spare, as doctors drained his lungs and saved his life.

ProRodeo Sports News 6/26/2020


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