Brothers Deacon, 9, Kace, 4 and Ruben, 2, were all born with holes in their hearts. As newborns they each received multiple diagnoses - with names longer than their tiny bodies.
For mum, Rebecca Hill, it's been terrifying but her babies have grown into animated children, thanks to the Royal Children's Hospital. SOPHIE BOYD reports.
Imagine your baby lying on a bed, fighting for a life they only just began.
Surrounded by more tubes than you can count.
Monitors beeping, machines ensuring your tiny infant keeps breathing and that their broken heart continues beating.
It's a terrifying and devastating image.
There's no maternity suite full of balloons and joy, it's a world away from what expectant mothers imagine.
For single mum Rebecca Hill, of Wodonga, it is a reality she's had to live through three times.
Each of her sons, Deacon, 9, Kace, 4, and Ruben, 2, have heart, lung and respiratory issues.
"To look at them you would never guess they had issues," Rebecca says.
It all started when Rebecca was pregnant with her first son Deacon, an artsy boy who loves singing, drama and currently obsessed with the band Queen.
An ultrasound detected an abnormality and the mum-to-be was whisked to Melbourne for tests.
Deacon was born with holes in the walls of his heart - atrial ventricular septal defects and mitral valve regurgitation.
Oxygenated blood that should have been pumped through his little body was returning to his lungs, and blood was leaking through the mitral valve of the heart.
"He had surgery at 18 days old," Rebecca says.
"For lack of a better terms it's just heartbreaking to watch. No one wishes that for their children."
Rebecca's family has a history of heart issues and each of her three boys were born with congenital heart defects.
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Kace and Ruben also have lung and airway issues. It was a terrifying situation for the new mother.
Her much anticipated and loved baby was in and out of hospital for months and months.
"The first year was very rough, his kidneys through off a lot of different levels he needed sodium and medication," she said.
"But at about 12 months of age he came good, he became pretty much like a normal kid."
Then came the fainting and low heart rate.
Last year after fainting twice in one night he was admitted to Albury Base Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.
"They discovered his heart was actually stopping," Rebecca explains.
The creative eight-year-old underwent open heart surgery to implant a pacemaker.
While Deacon was in and out of hospitals, his boisterous brother Kace was born.
For the first two weeks of his life a prematurely born Kace lived in the special care nursery.
"We'd only had him home for five days when he was airlifted to Melbourne - he'd gone into heart failure," she says.
Kace had holes in his heart muscles - more than 25 of them.
The adventurous four-year-old who struggles to sit still and loves to play outside has undergone three open heart operations.
He also has tracheobronchomalacia - a narrowing and floppiness of the trachea and bronchi in the lungs - which leads to chronic bronchitis and other health issues.
"It's been a big battle," Rebecca said.
But his rough start has not slowed Kace.
"He's your typical boy he's always outside running around he loves superheroes and cars," she said.
"He tries [to keep up] but you'll see he's getting tired.
"He'll start coughing and goes red, but it never stops him because he just wants to run around with his friends as kids do.
"[Rebecca's youngest son] Ruben he's the same, he doesn't stop.
"As much as I'd sometime like them to sit down and rest they just don't."
Ruben, 2, was also born with holes in his heart and tracheobronchomalacia as well as having laryngomalacia - which causes his airway to get blocked - and a laryngeal clef.
"Everyone he meets, gets wrapped around his finger," Rebecca laughs.
At one stage little Ruben was hooked up to oxygen 24/7.
He needs a tube from his nose into his stomach, but it causes him to aspirate.
Watching her young children undergo and undergoing surgery after surgery is traumatic for Rebecca.
It's not something you can easily live with or something you get used to.
"It affected me a lot," she says.
"I suffer from PTSD and have very high anxiety.
"Obviously it's hard having the three of them with the conditions."
On average, the Wodonga family travels to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne once a week on top of appointments on the Border.
Ruben alone is in the care of 10 specialists.
Rebecca feels indebted to the Royal Children's Hospital, it's saved her boys and supported her through incredibly tough times.
For lack of a better terms it's just heartbreaking to watch. No one wishes that for their children.Rebecca Hill
"What they do, the technology they have and their abilities - it's amazing," she says.
"The boys love the starlight room."
Rebecca says while no one wants to need the Royal Children's Hospital, having it there is vital for families like theirs.
She hopes people dig deep and support the cause come Good Friday so the hospital can continue to support children like Deacon, Kace and Ruben.
As well as the hospital, the family receives support from HeartKids.
Rebecca wants more people to be aware of congenital heart disease because it doesn't discriminate.
People can follow the boys journey at The Heart Brothers on Facebook.