Allyson Rivera's journey began in Carlsbad, New Mexico on May 13th 2004.
"I had a really normal great pregnancy. Nice and big and fat and when I had her she really shocked everybody, nobody suspected anything, they didn't see anything on my ultrasounds or anything like that," says Allyson's mother, Stephanie.
But, when Allyson was born she was blue and not breathing on her own.
"They were going to send us to Albuquerque first and then they took x-rays and saw what was wrong and they don't have an ECMO machine in New Mexico so they decided to send us to Lubbock."
Allyson was flown to UMC and placed on ECMO within hours of her arrival.
"Allyson was born with a condition called diaphragmatic hernia. It's a condition where the intestines are herniated up through a hole in the diaphragm. So they are herniated up into the chest cavity on one side, most typically the left side which is the case for Allyson," says Dr Christopher Blewett.
So Allyson relied on ECMO to survive. ECMO is a system that can act as the heart and lungs for a baby, it drains blood out of the heart, circulates it and then pumps it back in.
Allyson was so dependent upon the ECMO, her doctors realized they would have to operate on her hernia while she was still on the system.
"Ideally you'd like to get them off ECMO, get the lung issues resolved, get them off bypass and then repair them. She was pretty marginal in terms of her status so we actually repaired her on ECMO to try to give her that little bit of advantage as far as lung expansions and such to come off," says Dr. Christopher Blewett.
Allyson went through about five major surgeries and remained in the hospital for five solid months.
Allyson's prognosis improves every day. Reaching one year old is a milestone but not the end of the journey. She remains on a ventilator, with a trach and is still fed through the stomach, but everyday she grows her chance of survival increases.
"The only solution to her problems is for her to grow out of it, all the issues she has all she can do is grow, get bigger and her lungs grow and her airways to straighten out. Her lungs are just in very bad shape, her airways and things like that just don't look good," says Stephanie Rivera.
Dr. Blewett and Stephanie both know there is still a long road ahead, but both agree, this happy baby is only here today thanks to the expertise and technology at UMC.
"We have high hopes for the future," says Stephanie.
A future that for Stephanie was forever changed the day ally was born. Stephanie never intended on leaving New Mexico, her family and Ally's father Josh remain there, all working to help support Stephanie and Allyson. Her hope is to get back there, but until then. She's found comfort with her new family at UMC.
Tom Vining, Stephanie's dad, says "This is the miracle. Everybody that was necessary for her survival was in the right place at the right time, with the right equipment and that includes the helicopter that brought her to UMC. Thank you very much. Thank you, UMC."
|2005 Children's Miracle Network Telethon|