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Momma Arielle is a first-time mother to 3-month-old baby Brielle.  She and her family are from Buffalo, NY. Brian, Brielle’s father and a diehard Eagles fan is holding down the fort back at home, while Grandma, mom and our new favorite little mermaid awaited a new heart. After 71 days on the transplant list, on Thursday, October 3rd, Brielle received her new heart!! Around 18 weeks into her pregnancy, Arielle learned that her Brielle had hypoplastic right ventricle syndrome. It is a rare congenital heart condition where the right atrium and ventricle are underdeveloped, causing insufficient blood flow to the lungs.

Because of her preexisting condition, Brielle would require surgery shortly after birth. The pediatric heart specialist in their area was scheduled to leave for vacation days before her due date, so it was determined that they would travel to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh for Brielle’s heart surgery. On July 4th, Brielle was born at their local children’s hospital, and 24 hours later she was flown to Pittsburgh, while her family followed by car.

This precious fighter started off on shaky ground. Her little body was extremely swollen from the lack of oxygen.  She struggled to breathe on her own and the stress on her body caused her to go into cardiac arrest. The decision was made to place her in a medically induced coma to help alleviate the swelling and allow the doctors to determine the best course of treatment. After further evaluation it was determined that Brielle’s anatomy was much more complicated than was originally suspected.  

The next step in her journey was to place a stint in her heart to improve blood flow. The surgery was a success. Brielle’s swelling subsided and she emerged from the operation breathing on her own with only a small feeding tube in place to help with her nutrition. Brielle is doing well…going stronger and cuter every day.

Mom chose an Under the Sea theme for her room because that had been the theme at Brielle’s baby shower. We had a blast affixing decals of sea creatures to the walls in her room and creating the perfect space to hang up the oodles of pictures mom and gram have taken over the past three months. The light up whale, extra soft swaddle blankets and lavender mermaid tail were all big hits. The light up jellyfish matched her sign perfectly and provided soothing music for this little munchkin to enjoy. Our friends at Haute Haute Haute provided us with wonderful whale bookends to hold her new books.  We brightened up her crib with mermaid sheets and the sweetest under water themed quilt that had been donated from another of our Tribe members.

Thank you to everyone who has shown us ongoing support, as well as new friends who have come alongside of us, as we pursue this passion. We couldn’t do it without you! We hope you all will continue to consider donating to this special cause, so we can continue to lift the spirits of sweet souls like Brielle. We ask that you all keep this precious little girl and her sweet family in your thoughts and prayers during the remainder of her stay in the hospital, as we hope for persistent progress, and a smooth recovery from her transplant for Brielle’s new “happy heart”. Thank you Brielle!