Little Hearts

Christiana

My husband and I were thrilled when I became pregnant in 2004. Our daughter, Christina, was born on December 1, 2004 and weighed five pounds. She was perfect! Christina was about six weeks old when she went into respiratory distress on January 11, 2005. She was admitted to Children's in Birmingham and placed on a ventilator. As parents, we were terrified. An echocardiogram was done which determined her heart was enlarged but they were unable to determine why. A catheterization would need to be done so she was transported to UAB in Birmingham on January 13, 2005 where she was later diagnosed with progressively severe Pulmonary Vein Stenosis.

Our options were limited. If we did nothing, our daughter had two months to live. Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts offered a procedure to open the pulmonary veins and use chemotherapy in an attempt to slow down the growth. But, because this disease is progressive, the pulmonary veins begin to narrow again within four weeks. Ultimately, Christina would need a double lung transplant to survive. We were devastated.

On January 21, 2005, Christina was transported to Boston Children's Hospital. On January 24th, she had open heart surgery. During her recovery, the chemotherapy treatments began and continued weekly. We began listing Christina for a double lung transplant. On February 16th, we returned home.

On February 28th and March 1st, Christina had catheterizations done to reopen her veins. While she was recovering, the doctors agreed it would be best if she had a double lung and heart transplant. We continued listing Christina. Finally on March 10th, we returned home.

Over the next few days, Christina required more oxygen. After a visit to the ER, we were told to increase her oxygen to three liters and come back if she required more. The next day, March 16th, Christina had an appointment for an echocardiogram and another chemotherapy treatment. After the appointment, I was holding Christina and her body went limp in my arms. Christina's pulmonary veins began to close again two weeks after the catheterization. She was so tired. We had done everything we could. It was time to let her go. Later that evening, she passed in my arms. One day we will be with Christina again! Thanks to everyone who helped us in our time of need.

Story by Christina's mom, Candy - Alabama

4/21/2011
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