February Heart Hero – Elijah Vermillion

A 20 week ultrasound showed a possible heart defect which was confirmed by a pediatric cardiologist at 28 weeks.  Our little man, Elijah, would be born with an interrupted aortic arch, a VSD, an ASD, and an irregular aortic valve.  He was born at 39 weeks and spent a week in the NICU before his first open heart surgery.  This surgery corrected his interrupted aortic arch, VSD, and ASD.  He was a fighter from the beginning and pulled through remarkably well with just three more weeks in the PICU after surgery.  His vocal cord nerve was damaged during the surgery (a possible side effect as it needs to be moved out of the way for this heart repair) and this lead to a very difficult year of feeding for Elijah as one of his vocal cords was completely paralyzed open.  His heart healed amazingly, but aspiration while feeding and the inability to make noises at all at the beginning made things very hard for our little man, especially that first year.

Elijah has now come so far!  He is going to Kindergarten in the fall with an IEP but we are so encouraged by the amazing progress he makes every day.  God has used multiple therapists, specialists, teachers, and an amazing team of doctors and surgeons to bring Elijah farther than we could ever imagine!  He will have another open heart surgery to repair his valve, but we are hopeful he will be much older before it is needed.  His aspiration has resolved and we laugh how he used to not eat as he eats like a farmhand now!  He is able to talk and sing but a vocal cord surgery will most likely be done in the next couple years to help his voice quality.  He struggles with Autism but is making amazing progress with all of his supports he is receiving!  He is such a happy, sweet, goofy little guy with so much energy you would never know his heart was anything but normal. He has a great love of numbers and letters and amazes us with his memory daily!

We are forever grateful to Help-A-Heart for all of their support and the relationships we have made are worth more than we could ever express!

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