A Havre baby born months premature at 1 pound, 5 ounces successfully underwent heart surgery this week, and her mother says she is hopeful that the family is on the road to bringing her home on schedule.
Emily Kaye Butcher was born by cesarean section surgery in Missoula June 7 at 24 ½ weeks gestation, weighing just more than one pound and only 12 inches long.
Since birth, Emily had been fighting a problem common in premature babies. A valve connecting the aorta and pulmonary arteries of babies in the womb normally closes after birth when the baby takes its first breath, but often with premature babies, as in Emily’s case, it does not close. Emily’s doctors had been trying to use medication to get the valve to close, but Emily’s mother, Theresa Madril, said they closed it with surgery Monday.
“(Emily) did great with it … ,” Theresa said this morning. “She looks really good. She’s awake and active.”
Theresa said Emily still is on a ventilator, but that is improving — every time the medical staff checks Emily’s lungs, they reduce the settings.
“Hopefully, she will be off the ventilator … either today or tomorrow,” Theresa said.
The story began when Theresa went in at 22 weeks for a routine ultrasound, and the medical staff in Havre found she was dilating and going into labor. She ended up at the Missoula hospital, where they delayed the birth for two weeks then performed the C-section.
The co-workers of Theresa, who is a registered nurse at the emergency room at Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, and her husband, Shayne Butcher, who works at Havre Day Activity Center, have been helping out by donating sick and personal leave to help cover their time away from work.
Theresa said her husband is back at work, and their 9-year-old son, Evan, is spending most of the summer in Havre but is coming down to Missoula to visit.
Friends of the couple also are planning a fundraiser benefit to help with the expenses.
Theresa said the next hurdle is getting Emily back to normal eating, and watching her progress.
Before the surgery, Emily had nearly doubled in size, weighing in at 2 pounds 6 ounces. Theresa said the infant probably will be weighed again today or Friday.
“We’re on the downhill side now to get her better and get her home,” Theresa said.