The Miracle Baby
Olivia was identified as a special needs child at the time of placement. She was diagnosed with Transposition of the Great Arteries, a congenital heart condition, at birth. Bonnie, a nurse, knows a great deal about this condition and was prepared to parent a child with TGA. Four days before Bonnie was to travel to China, she received a call from her placing agency, explaining that Olivia had been hospitalized with pneumonia for the past two weeks, and was not doing well. Olivia was supposed to remain on portable oxygen when she returned to the orphanage, but was not sent home with oxygen. The day after Bonnie arrived in China, Olivia developed a fever of 103.5 degrees, and her breathing became fast and raspy. They went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with pneumonia and was given antibiotics and breathing treatments. She was discharged and Bonnie began planning to travel home with Olivia. She had already arranged to have Olivia transferred by ambulance to Stanford/Lucille Packard Children's Hospital immediately upon arrival in the United States. They completed their adoption paperwork, meetings, and Embassy appointment. Bonnie became intensely focused on getting Olivia to California, as it seemed to be her best chance of receiving the surgery necessary for her survival. China does not allow portable oxygen to be used on flights departing from the country, so Bonnie and Olivia needed to travel to Hong Kong to be able to fly to San Francisco with the oxygen Olivia would need on the flight.
On March 13, 2010, after a day long train ride out of ZhengZhou to GuangZhou, Olivia's skin became dusky and she had great trouble breathing once again. She was readmitted to the hospital in GuangZhou, China, where the doctors told Bonnie she would not be able to travel with Olivia due to heart failure, liver failure, and pneumonia. A feeding tube was inserted so Olivia wouldn't have to work at eating- she was far too short of breath, blue, and weak, so she had stopped eating. With the feeding tube, Olivia could be fed little amounts every two hours. She tolerated it well and slept through feedings much of the time. She remained in the hospital for a week, where she was given diuretics, antibiotics, breathing treatments and oxygen. Olivia's condition stabilized, she was discharged with portable oxygen, and on March 20, 2010, she and Bonnie boarded a train for Hong Kong. Olivia's heart rate and breathing were stable during the flight home and she slept most of the way. Bonnie and Olivia arrived in at San Francisco International Airport on March 21, 2010, and an ambulance met them at the gate and took them directly to the hospital.
On March 22, 2010, the pediatric cardiology surgical team at Stanford/Lucille Packard Children's Hospital began cardiac testing then inserted a cardiac catheter and placed Olivia on a ventilator in preparation for her surgery the next day. On March 23, 2010, Olivia underwent open-heart surgery. A shunt was placed in her heart and she underwent pulmonary artery banding. This surgery went very well. On April 6, she underwent her second planned open heart surgery, wherein an arterial switch was performed, her atrial septal defect was closed and her coronary arteries were moved to their proper positions. This surgery was also deemed very successful and the shunt inserted during her first surgery was removed. On April 9, 2010, Olivia was taken off the ventilator but continued to need supplemental oxygen. She continued to progress and gain strength and came home on oxygen on April 21, 2010. Because Olivia had also been prescribed opiates the entire time she was in the hospital, she also came home on Methadone and Ativan. She tapered off the prescriptions over the next 6 weeks and went off supplemental oxygen on June 3, 2010. An echocardiogram conducted on June 9, 2010 showed a normal heart. Her valves are no longer leaking and her lung pressures are normal. The pediatric cardiology team at Stanford called her a "miracle baby."