Gabriella M.
Birthdate: April 24, 2015

Diagnosis: Gastroparesis
Gabriella's Story

Gabriella was born when we were living in Kenya. When the doctor recommended an emergency C-section at 38 weeks, I was admitted to a local hospital. She was 4 pounds, 16 inches long and seemed healthy. From the beginning there were problems with feeding. She couldn’t latch on to breast feed, was allergic to dairy in formula, and couldn’t tolerate even soy formula. We were in the hospital for 2 weeks to allow me time to heal, and for the next 2 weeks she was readmitted several times. She started having spells of shaking and passing out. There were times she quit breathing and they told us she was holding her breath. Hospitals are very different in Kenya, and men are only allowed in during visiting hours. During Gabriella’s “spells” the hospital staff wasn’t quick to respond. One night I called my husband very panicked and told him to come to the hospital. Gabriella was not responsive and I couldn't get the nurse to help me quickly enough. After arguing with them he was allowed in. About 30 minutes later she had another episode and was non-responsive No one came to help quickly, and my husband saw what I was dealing with.

We did some research and found a Children’s Hospital called Gertrude’s. In Kenya the entire hospital bill must be paid before they’ll release the patient. Finally when Gabriella was a month old, we were transferred there. We were finally given a diagnosis there of Febrile Epilepsy. After more tests, they told us they wanted to do exploratory surgery that would be open. We weren’t comfortable with that, and started the process of getting Gabriella to the States. Even though we are both US citizens, we had to get permission. Many trips to the US Embassy and an emergency passport later, I flew to Kansas City, MO with Gabriella when she was 5 months old. My husband had to stay behind to deal with the hospital bill. Gabriella was very sick on the 32 hour flight, and we went straight to Children’s Hospital there.

After a multitude to tests, she was diagnosed with Gastroparesis, ftt, gurd, developmental delay, oral aversion, myoclonic epilepsy, and a heart murmur. Six months after arriving, surgery was planned to give Gabriella a G tube. My husband surprised me by arriving in time for the surgery. She eventually had to be switched to a G-J tube. Gabby has had many upper respiratory infections, and we have an appointment in Dallas in August to have Genetic testing.

It is by the Grace of God that Gabriella is here with us today. It is our prayer that someday she will be pain free, tube free and eating by mouth and enjoying it. 

"Thank you Love Quilts USA. Gabriella received her quilt today. She loves it. Every square stitched is beautifully created. Beautiful job to all the volunteers and crafters."