In the early morning of August 9, Stella began to refuse to eat or take a pacifier. Megan thought she was just being stubborn but became more concerned as the refusal continued. Later in the morning her breathing became a bit labored so Megan called the pediatrician’s office. After the nurse listened to Stella breathing over speaker phone (yay for technology) she suggested that they head to the ER just to be safe. Thank goodness they did as it was discovered that Stella had a coarctation of the aorta and needed heart surgery ASAP. She was transported from Blank’s NICU over to Mercy as that is where all cardio surgeries for kids are done.
A coarctation of the aorta is when the descending aorta is so narrow that oxygenated blood is not able to get to the lower half of the body (anything below the heart). To fix it the surgeon went through the left side of Stella’s chest and cut out the narrowed piece. Then he stitched the pieces of the aorta above and below the narrowing together. Post-op, the surgeon said that surgery went exactly like they’d hoped and Stella’s oxygenated blood was flowing as it should.