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Mesa mom says daughter's heart stops beating when upset

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 30, 2020

MESA, AZ — Inside the Davis household, playtime is the best time of the day. But for mom, Natalie, she has to keep a close eye on her 2-year-old daughter Bethany.

"May 7th was when it all started," Davis said.

While playing, she says Bethany accidentally hit her head.

"And [she] reacted like any normal kid would, started crying. And then she just stopped making any noise, started seizing and then stopped breathing all together," she said.

Davis says by the time help arrived, Bethany was back up, walking around as if nothing had happened.

Davis says incidents like that, kept happening. She says doctors thought it was because Bethany would hold her breath when she got scared.

"I kept fighting it because I didn't think it was breath holding spells," Davis said.

So finally, after many tests, she says doctors found out through a heart monitor that it was actually because Bethany's heart would stop beating for a few seconds.

"Sometimes it's pain that triggers it, sometimes it's fear, sometimes it's nothing at all," Davis said. "For now, they're calling it Vasovagal Syncope."

Davis says it's been difficult for her other children to understand.

"They have run out screaming that Bethany's dead, like not understanding because she just drops and is laying there. So it's hard to hear. Like obviously I know she's not dead, but it's really hard to hear them saying she's dead," Davis said. "So now we have surveillance cameras in all the rooms, just so I can watch her 24/7."

The family is planning to get Bethany a service dog and has set up a GoFundMe to help fund a service dog.

"It would be life saving for us, for the times I can't run to her and catch her in time," Davis said.

By sharing their story, they hope other parents struggling with this issue know they aren't alone.

"I've had a lot of people reach out to me already saying, oh my gosh my kid does that and they keep telling me it's breath holding spells," Davis said. "I tell them, reach out, get a referral from a cardiologist because it could be more."