Meet Lizbeth, JDP’s August Warrior Princess. 😍
Lizbeth’s Story (told by mom)…
Lizbeth De La Cruz was born on September 25, 2018 when I was 31 weeks 6 days. She weighed 4 pounds 13 ounces and was 18in long. They immediately took her away to the NICU where she spent 47 days. They were some of the hardest days. She would take one step forward and then two steps back. I was so emotional seeing my first born working so hard every day to accomplish a milestone. It was even harder walking into the hospital and seeing parents leave with their babies and knowing that I didn’t know when I was going to be able to take her home. The day I was able to bring her home was one of the happiest days! I had been waiting for her to come home for the longest time. When she was home a month later she started with a cough. We took her to her pediatrician and nothing was wrong so she referred her to a pulmonologist. Her pulmonologist sent her to get a swallow study done which helped us find out she was aspirating. Lizbeth has to do occupational therapy twice a week. We also have to thicken her liquids with gel mix and I had to stop breast feeding because of her aspirating. She also needs physical therapy because she does have some area where she needs help. When we were in the NICU they did an echo of her heart and realized she has a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). This is an opening in the heart that normally closes a few days after birth, but sometimes it doesn’t, especially in premature babies. They sent her home on lazis and we had to follow up with her cardiologist in 2 months.
When that appointment came they realized she had another little hole called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). Dr Johnson also said her PDA wasn’t closing so they recommend for her to get a heart catheterization done. He referred her to Dr. Holt to preform the procedure which was scheduled for May 16, 2019. We went that day of her procedure super nervous and scared. Thankfully everything went ok. The next day she got a chest x-ray where they realized the occlusion device had moved into the right pulmonary artery. They started getting her ready again to go to the cath lab to get it removed. They took her into the cath lab at around 12pm and about 3pm Dr. Johnson and Dr. Beckerman came in and explained that the best option was for her to get open heart surgery and close both her PDA and her ASD. They went back and got her ready for her open heart surgery and I didn’t get to see my baby again till about 9:30pm. It was one of the hardest days of my life to see my first born like that. Thank God everything went well and she was discharged on May 26, 2019. She has been such a warrier and she keeps working hard with her therapist to keep trying to get to where she’s supposed to be.
How has this affected your family?
We have gotten closer. We’ve realized how lucky we are to have each other. We have all grown and learned a lot. Not only us as her parents, but her grandparents and uncles and other close family members.
What advice would you like to give to families experiencing the same or similar circumstances?
God works miracles. We are so lucky to be able to have all these doctors that can help our babies whether it’s in the NICU or a hospital stay. We are stronger than we think we are. Our babies are stronger that we could ever imagine. Don’t rush your babies while in the NICU. Before you know it they will be home.
What advice would you like to give readers who know a family with a warrior/warrior princess baby? (What can they do to help? )
Be respectful of parents wishes. Don’t take anything personal whatever they decide to do is for their children’s good.
Would you like to thank anyone in particular?
I am honestly so thankful with all of my family for always been so supportive. I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the doctors and therapists that have been such a big part of her life and are helping her get better everyday.
What foundations were helpful to you that you would like to raise awareness for?