We were overjoyed to see this first picture of a bright pink baby in the bright blue hands of a team of extraordinary professionals. Because her heart issues were about the right ventricle not being able to get oxygen to the lungs we expected her to be the color of those gloves, but she is gorgeously pink and remained so throughout the harrowing processes of the next week.
What joy and relief to see this precious little girl immerge into the world On April 24th with gusto! 7 lbs. 12 oz. 21 inches.
If you want to see the miraculous story of this little girl’s first week on earth complete with brilliant pictures from a really great camera, go to Noah and Kristi’s blog at eyreblog.blogspot.com. The story starts here and goes through the next breathtaking days with wonder, intense apprehension of her loving parents and some pretty good humor!
So here we will go through a brief synopsis of how we saw what happened (maybe before you go to the “real thing”) although I do have to admit that I borrowed a few pictures from their blog of things I didn’t see.
They brought the baby in an incubator to Kristi’s hospital room from the NICU to say goodbye to her mom before she took her 100 yard ambulance ride to Children’s Hospital of Las Angeles, literally across the street. Dad had already been in to see her, appropriately dressed and looking “a little” tired after not sleeping or eating much for about 36 hours.
Noah was able to give that little girl and name…Shelby Grace Eyre and a quick blessing before she was transferred. We could see them loading her and Noah into the ambulance from the hospital window.
After the ride she was taken out of the incubator, hooked up (literally) and had a private room of her own.
The room was rammed with state of the art equipment for this little angel. Not many years ago this condition would have been a death sentence. How grateful we are for modern medicine and for doctors and technicians whose life’s work centered on saving these precious souls.
In the days that followed they allowed her siblings to meet her two at a time. It was such a moment in their lives as they met their new baby sister:
The plethora of possibilities for having the best possible outcome for Shelby’s life are too many to discuss here (there are more details on their blog) but it was decided by a team of doctors that on the following Monday (she was born on Thursday), they would use catheters, one through a large artery in her groin and one through her umbilical cord to go through to her heart and to try to open the pulmonary artery so that blood-carrying oxygen could get through to her lungs. They had also been giving Shelby a drug since birth that kept a hole in her upper heart that usually closes at birth, open so they could insert a stent into the hole which would also allow more blood carrying oxygen to the lungs.
If it sounds like a miracle that a doctor could perform this procedure on a little walnut-sized heart while it was beating about 200 times a minute, you’re absolutely right! It was truly a miracle!
Although the Doctor was able to balloon the pulmonary artery and allow lots more blood to flow through (see actual pictures at eyreblog.blogspost.com) her oxygen levels started to fall before he got to that little hole and he had to pull the catheters out before he could insert the stent because the hole was actually too large to fit the stent firmly.
Overjoyed at the progress, still we were apprehensive about another procedure which would require anaesthetizing Shelby again and going in with the catheter at just the right moment when that little hole was exactly the right size. Still sounding amazing and incredible? You’re right!
After the procedure on Monday, they determined to go in again on Wednesday to place the stent. By then that little Shelby had just about had it! She was being given all the nutrients she needed through an IV but there was nothing in her stomach. She was STARVING! Nothing her parents or the nursing staff could do calmed her and those valiant parents, with very little sleep in the past five days were up all night with their hearts breaking. Poor Kristi was dying to feed her. She was pumping and saving her milk for the right time but dang, she couldn’t feed her to comfort her. That was hard! A sweet Vietnamese man can in in the night and ordered the exhausted parents to get some sleep (head to toe in a single cot in the baby’s room) while he took her out. They could hear him singing to her in the hall. So sweet!
The next day, they put in a new IV and she was ready to go. Poor little thing!
Immersed in emotion and with thousands of prayers coming in from all over the world (thanks to blogs and the Internet) the Doctor was able to place two stents perfectly in that little hole that was just the right size at just the right moment! Prayers work! The word went out like wildfire and she was back in their room recovering….slowly.
I think that apparatus is taped in there SO securely because at one point this feisty little girl got pretty mad about all those tubes and pulled out a tube in her mouth and one in her belly button. With a smile the doctors said that thought that strong will would help a lot with her success in life .
The next many hours were pretty apprehensive as it took her much longer to come out of the anesthesia this time and she spent a long time on a ventilator in her mouth which made it impossible to make a sound even though they knew she was crying. So sad!
But she finally came out and once the ventilator was removed, they thankfully moved her to an upgraded room in her own little crib.
And this was her reaction after she finally got her first taste of Mother’s milk (through a bottle) and when she realized that she was out of the woods and was going to live a long, happy life. I insist that this I NOT gas! It’s JOY!
With only two days in recovery and after nursing well, they sent this baby home! Everyone was astounded that she could go home so soon!
But Shelby Grace was obviously happy. She just smiled and smiled and smiled! Impossible? I think not. This little angel is trying to tell us something!
Although she will probably have future heart surgeries, for now she is home with her loving family as we all rejoice in the answers to our prayers and the loving hands of angels who carried her through all this turmoil. The doctors insist that she should be treated just like a normal baby and that they would be checking consistently for future issues.
And now that she’s home, she’s in for quite a ride with her wonderous family…. but may not be absolutely safe