DENVER — It’s the story of a Christmas miracle — she had little chance of survival at birth, but thanks to a team of Denver doctors, a baby girl will be going home with her parents on Christmas day.
Shoni, descended from northern Arapaho Indian ancestors, has been living in pediatric intensive care at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children since she was born in Denver two weeks ago.
She was diagnosed in the womb with a condition where the veins from her lungs don’t drain back to the heart.
“Knowing in advance allowed us to be able to plan for the delivery to have a surgical team ready,” said r. Michael Petterson, a pediatric cardiologist.
To prevent her abdomen and liver from filling with blood, she was rushed to surgery right after birth.
“Our challenge as a surgery team is to connect those pulmonary veins to the heart directly like they should have been in the first place,” said Dr. Steve Leonard, a pediatric heart surgeon.
It’s an extremely rare condition and her survival was in doubt, so mom and dad traveled from Riverton, Wyoming to have her delivered in Denver.
“We didn’t really get to hold her when she was born because she had to go to surgery right away so we had to wait days, we had to wait a week,” said William Addison, Shoni’s dad.
Her middle name is Koo-ish for a last known miraculous survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre, where women and their children were slaughtered.
Her survival too… her family is calling a miracle.
“I think it’s a miracle in the sense of all the prayer, that all the people, family and friends that prayed for her,” said William.
They’ve been separated from their other two girls and three boys for a month and they’re now overjoyed to take Shoni home.
“I’m happy that she’s doing really good,” said Pauline Chavez, Shoni’s mom.
“She’s had a remarkable recovery and we’re just thrilled that this is a great Christmas present for mom and dad,” said Dr. Leonard.
Barring further complications, mom, dad and baby Shoni will be heading back to their home on a Wyoming reservation to meet the other five children on Christmas day.