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By Shadonna, Iyanna’s mom
My daughter Iyanna was born in December 2017 with a heart condition call pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum. Just a few hours after she was born, Iyanna coded, and they had to shock her heart. That’s when the doctors told me she would need to be transferred to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles cardiothoracic intensive care unit.
I said my goodbye to Iyanna, and she was transported. I was released from the hospital the next day, went to visit Iyanna, and then went home to be with Iyanna’s three siblings. The next morning, I woke up to a call from the hospital. They said that Iyanna wasn’t doing well and wouldn’t make it overnight. We all rushed to the hospital, and I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. I talked to Iyanna, and she began to move her feet when she heard my voice.
Over the next few days, Iyanna’s swelling went down. When she was one month old, the doctors decided that Iyanna was healthy enough for open heart surgery. They only gave her a 50% chance of survival. Iyanna’s surgery went extremely well, but the surgeon told us that we had won the battle, not the war.
After her heart surgery, Iyanna had ups and downs. Eventually the doctor mentioned that she might need a trach. She explained that having a kid with a trach is hard and said we wouldn’t have the best nursing care. Well, since Iyanna has had her trach, she has been able to grow, play, and learn. With the help of her amazing Aveanna nurses, she has done more than the doctors ever thought she could.
Thanks to our former nurse Kimberly, Iyanna now drinks water. Doctors said she would never eat by mouth, but Kimberly had faith in Iyanna. Iyanna sings, dances, and sits up, and that is because our mid-day nurse Erin works with her every day to make sure she can keep up with her siblings. Every day, Erin sings and dances with Iyanna even when she isn’t feeling well.
At night, our lovely nurse Rose makes sure Iyanna is comfortable in her pajamas. I have even caught Rose dancing Iyanna to sleep. Kimberly is no longer working with us, but I still text her from time to time. When Iyanna was in the hospital for her second open heart surgery, all of our nurses kept in contact with me.
With the help of these nurses, I am able to rest, spend time with my other kids, and run errands. These nurses are literally like aunts to Iyanna. I couldn’t be happier. Thanks to these nurses, Iyanna is a happy two-year-old heart warrior princess living her best life.