The Birth Announcement (That We Didn’t Want to Send)

The Birth Announcement (That We Didn’t Want to Send)

Eve Isley Saarinen was born the evening of Friday, December 12th  – 6 lbs, 9 oz, 20 inches… lots of beautiful dark hair.

At 2 days old, Eve was diagnosed with congenital heart disease. It’s a broad category.  Her biggest problem is a severely leaky mitral valve, which puts strain on the whole heart function, enlarging the heart and putting pressure and excess fluid on the respiratory system.  She was transported by Lifelink to the University of Minnesota NICU on the 14th.  Paul drove through the blizzard that night to be at her side, but since I had a c-section I could not be discharged until the next day.  Took a cab over there on the 15th and we hunkered down for the next 5 days.  The medications seemed to be working at first, but within a couple days her heart was continuing to get larger, her breathing more labored.  After an episode of SVT – which is basically super-fast heart arrhythmia, she was immediately transported to the U of M Children’s Hospital pediatric intensive care unit – closer to the full time cardiology staff and cardiac surgeon.

She was started on a new, stronger drug to alleviate some of the pressure and workload on her heart.  We were warned that her situation was precarious.  The surgeon and team spoke to us of a possible transplant (her heart had already been greatly damaged by her defect and the tachycardia).  Yet with all this, she has started to turn a corner and improve.

It is slow progress – and it’s hard to be patient.   We don’t know how long we’ll be here as the medicines do their work…though they seem to be stabilizing her.  We’ve told our parents to come now…want them to know her if God takes her from us now.  Just writing this is almost unbearable.  For now, we are only positive around her…so we cling to a tentative plan to get her bigger and stronger for a heart surgery at about 3 months old.

There are very sick children all around us here.  It’s the holiday season and there shouldn’t be any sick children.  Anywhere.  So we pray for all these babies and continue to be grateful for how well Eve has been doing.

Blessings to all of you in the new year – cherish your new arrivals.  They are the greatest gifts.  We’ll do our best to keep you posted (Paul’s Eve blog updates can be found at:

Annamarie, Paul, Jack, Elle and baby Eve

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5 Responses to “The Birth Announcement (That We Didn’t Want to Send)”

  1. Dear Annamarie, Paul, Jack and Elle and Baby Eve,

    My thoughts and prayers are with you right now and I know what you are going through. I lost my 3rd child to a congenital heart defect that was never detected. He died at 3 months old during the Christmas season so this a particularly tender time of year for my family and me. He would be 7 now. I will pray hard for Baby Eve and hope this Christmas season brings you the greatest gift of all….a healthy baby girl!

  2. God bless little Evie and keep her strong and healthy. Have faith in miracles because heart children are truly miracles. We have been in your shoes and have been so blessed to have our son with us today healthy and strong. He will need another surgery next year, but I know God is with all of us heart parents and kiddos. I will keep little Evie in my prayers. I wish all of you strength. May God surround all of you in his love and protection.

  3. My seven year old son has HLHS and after readying your story just want to give him a big hug and kiss. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that Evie is a fighter and can win against her CHD’s!

  4. Please be strong! We are thinking of you and your family. My son’s open heart surgery for TAPVR was performed on new year’s eve two years ago when he was 17days old. The PICU was full of sick kids and seeing them broke my heart. I feel just the way you did, it was aweful. This time of year is really hard for me but we have our son and he is happy and healthy. I wish the same for you and your beautiful baby.

  5. Baby Eve is adorable!!!!! My son was also born on December 12th!!!!! He was born with a ASD, VSD and later diagnosed with a leaky valve. He had succesful open heart surgery when he was 2 1/2. Our 2 yr surgery anniversary is next month and my baby is now working for his yellow belt in Tai Kwon Do! XOXOXOXO