The doctors initially diagnosed Ari as septic, a serious blood infection that can be fatal. However, after they continued to give her oxygen without any improvement in her oxygen level (her blood oxygen level fell as low as 30%, we would be told later), they determined that she had a heart condition. We had taken her to the nearest pediatric ER, but the hospital did not specialize in pediatric cardiology, and so plans were made to move her to a nearby hospital with such a department, as soon as they felt she was stable enough to make the transfer across town.
Several more hours past, and though her condition had not improved, they felt that time was growing short and determined that they would have to risk it. It was very clear to me that my beautiful, perfect baby daughter might not make it, and before they put her in the ambulance, I reached into the box in which she was encapsulated, harnessed all my love and determination and directed it at her. I told her how much I loved her, how strong she was, how she needed to hold on, and that we would be together again very soon, all the while the tears that had begun hours earlier continued to stream down my face.
By this time, Sergio and Hugo had arrived to the hospital, and while Sergio rode with Ariana in a caravan of ambulances, Hugo and I made our way over to the pediatric cardiac specialty hospital, University Hospital 12 de Octubre.
We arrived before Ari and Sergio, and Hugo and I waited at the ER entrance. As the ambulances pulled up, Sergio gave me a thumbs-up sign. Ari had made it, though we would later learn that, had we arrived 15 minutes later, we would have been too late.
Ch. 1: The First 6 Weeks
Ch. 2: To the ER
Ch. 3: The Transfer (this page)
Ch. 4: The Diagnosis
Ch. 5: The Rashkind Procedure
Ch. 6: 8 Weeks in PICU
Ch. 7: Ari’s Arterial Switch
Ch. 8: The End . . . and the Beginning