Miss Asher Elisabeth came barging into our lives on December 18, 2012. My pregnancy had been uncomplicated, and all tests and ultrasounds showed a thriving, if a bit small, baby girl. She was born at 37 weeks gestation, and after one night in the hospital, we came home to her Daddy, big brother Stephen, and big sister Caitlyn.
Asher had always been on the small side, staying around the 5th percentile for height and weight. She had a heart murmur at birth; her pediatrician assumed it was a typical murmur that she’d likely outgrow before her first birthday, since there weren’t any other symptoms. However, at 11 months old, Asher got extremely sick. At her office checkup, her doctor became concerned at the rate of change in the murmur, and we were sent for an echo two days later. Within an hour of the echo, a pediatric cardiologist had called and said he needed to see her in his office the very next day.
After his exam, she was scheduled for a sedated echo. The results were astonishing. She was diagnosed with Bicuspid Aortic Valve disease, aortic stenosis, and Coarctation of the Aorta. The COA was the most pressing issue. Her file was sent to both Dallas Children’s and Arkansas Children’s, with two teams of 20+ cardiologists determining that she was not a candidate for the heart cath lab; she needed immediate surgery.
She was scheduled for surgery on March 7, 2014. We were provided with a “before” picture of her aortic artery; the COA was 40-50%, possibly 60% narrowed, meaning she was only getting 50-60% blood flow to her back and lower body. On top of that, they discovered that she also had narrowing of her mitral valve, and had developed a membrane below her aortic valve, which was reducing the blood flow through that valve by 30%.
She RAN out of Arkansas Children’s Hospital FOUR days after her heart surgery. We have to monitor the valve issues every 4-6 weeks, and have been advised that she’ll need to undergo full open heart surgery, on the by-pass machine, one or more times before she begins school to repair the valve issues. Looking at her, you’d never think that she’s battling such a big disease!
She’s our little fighter, and our faith has been in God for His Will to be done, not ours. My go-to scripture for the entire journey was John 9:3. I know God didn’t allow this to happen, but since it did, I had to trust that He would heal her in His Way, the Way that would bring the most glory to Him.
She is our little fighter, our little spit fire, and I am so proud to be her Mom, and proud to watch her grow in her faith, and foster the testimony that she’ll have through her scars.
The photo attached is of Asher Elisabeth, 50 hours post surgery. She had all her IVs, catheters, and lines removed, and was off all her pain medications and blood pressure medications. The only medication she was discharged with was Lasix, a diuretic, that she was able to discontinue 14 days after discharge!