Overcoming the Odds
Eva was born at 32 weeks, with a rare birth defect called an omphalocele. It is not know what causes an omphalocele, but luckily we live close to one of the best children's hospitals in the world, where they specialize in taking care of high-risk pregnancies. Eva was born at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she spent two months in their NICU. We were told by the specialists at CHOP that her first few months would be delicate, and require intense therapy and medical interventions.
This birth defect turned out to be the least of our worries. Because of a tricky pregnancy and early birth, Eva suffered a bilateral intraventricular hemorrhage, the most severe Grade IV. We were unsure of what her life would be like, and prepared for the many challenges that faced us. But one remarkable thing that has been steady throughout the pregnancy and continues today is Eva's ability to overcome the odds. Her sheer determination, and her mental and physical strength have allowed her to achieve goals that we were not sure she could possibly reach. Her omphalocele was repaired at age 1, by her CHOP team of surgeons and nurses. She learned to eat and drink by mouth from the age of 4months, even while she had a NG tube. A gastric tube that was placed during surgery was only needed for 6months, because she was doing so well with eating by mouth. Her doctors's were amazed by her recovery from both the gastrointestinal defect and her stroke. She continues to thrive every day, learning to work through her cerebral palsy spasticity that effects her right side and her vision.
Creating Her Own Story
With the help of a group of therapists who have helped her since she was six months old, she continues to meet and surpass the goals they set for her. She is walking in a gait trainer, and sometimes she walks by just holding our hands. She loves swimming, and chasing her dog. She is expressing herself through new words and phrases that she learns with her friends in pre-school. This coming January, she will receive her first stem cell treatment, and we are hopeful that this will propel her to progress even more!
Eva's diva-like attitude has worked to her advantage, pushing her to achieve goals and set new ones along the way. She is an inspiration to our community, and the light of our lives!