Before we get to the medical stuff, we wanted to share a great blessing today. A friend of ours, Heidi Miller, told us one of her friends, Ellie Irwin, who is a professional photographer, wanted to come take pictures of us & Ella at the hospital. The best part was that we were able to bring Elijah & Ayden back to see Ella for the 1st time. They were in awe of her & really enjoyed looking at their little sister. We look forward to sharing our family portrait with you all as soon as we get it. And we're so thankful for Ellie to offer us that chance to all be in a photo together!
On to the medical side... The big day with the cardiologists kind of left us exactly where we are - waiting. Ella's overall condition & function of a few key systems (most notably the kidneys & liver) need to improve in order for any type of surgery to be considered. There was one option the cardiologists discussed at length today, but it is an incredibly risky procedure even in healthy, full-term babies. Since Ella's is premature with multiple secondary issues, the risks just sky-rocket and really make it too risky to consider. Her case is also very rare: The cardiologist we spoke with (who is the absolute best in the region) said they see about 1 full-term baby a year with a similar condition & have actually never seen a premature baby like Ella with the heart condition she has. Basically if they don't make it to full term, they never make it out of the womb alive. That is one reason it is so amazing that she is even alive in this world, because it was only chance (rather God's intervention) that we went in to get the ultrasound that detected Ella's heart problem.
Since surgery isn't a possibility at this point, they are attempting to get her in position to see if her heart can progress naturally. Without getting too medical/confusing, there is one type of medication that is being ended to allow for the natural closure of some type of duct within the heart structure (a duct that is supposed to close up after birth). It was originally given to her because allowing the duct to stay open was encouraging blood flow, but it also began to let blood come back into the lungs - essentially "stealing" it from the rest of the body. The hope is that allowing this duct to close will help to get more blood to the rest of the body and even encourage her heart to pump better. If she can get her organs stable & have time to grow to a "full-term baby" size, surgery or a heart transplant might come back into the picture. But there are no guarantees her heart will improve either - and until she does, there is no plan B.
So for now, we are just going to have to see if Ella's condition can improve. Essentially, she just needs to continue to be the fighter she has been for 6 days now. It is an extremely uphill battle for her, but we know that God can accomplish the impossible. Your prayer & support is so amazing & we know it is helping little Ella continue to fight.