When North Carolina parents Melanie and Mike Leitner found out their baby girl might not live to see her first birthday, they were devastated but found new hope when doctors came up with a new plan to transplant a healthy heart.
“We were told that Ella had a large mass in the left ventricle of her heart and to prepare ourselves that she would not make it through the weekend,” mom Melanie said. But doctors decided there might be time to find baby Ella Kate a new heart and they put on a transplant list in November.
As time passed and Ella got more sick, her parents started to worry there wouldn’t be enough time to find a heart donor. “I had actually called into cardiology and I had said, ‘she’s getting worse. She’s gray all the time and she’s not breathing well and she’s making these gasping sounds,'” Melanie said. “We were in a race against time for Ella Kate, she was starting to get very sick,” said Dr. Gonzalo Wallis, Medical Director of Levine Children’s Hospital’s pediatric heart transplant program.
Two months later in January, Ella was still hanging on, but it was obvious she wasn’t going to last much longer so the pastor at Abundant Life Foursquare Church where the family went to church stopped the service and had everyone pray for a miracle. “He said our little girl is failing, she’s getting sicker and we need to pray. They prayed over her, and they prayed over us,” Melanie said.
“On our way home from church, we got the call that changed our world. Celine, our other coordinator, called and said we got the offer for the perfect heart for Ella,” Melanie said. “If this wasn’t a God moment, I don’t know what could be.” They rushed Ella straight to the hospital and she went in for emergency surgery when the donor heart arrived. “I was seeing a child get sick in front of my eyes and I had nothing to offer, and finally we do this and they’re doing great,” Dr. Wallis said.
Now, Ella has made it past her first birthday and is thriving thanks to her new heart, which Melanie and Mike are forever grateful for. “You know that another family has lost their child, and you know that in their darkest moments they were able to make the decision that saved my little girl,” Melanie said. “We will be eternally grateful for that.”
Watch the entire video below to see how this family reacted when they heard baby Ella was getting a new heart.
Can you believe this family found out doctors finally found a new heart just moments after their entire church prayed for a miracle? Let us know what you think in the comments below and please SHARE this with friends on Facebook.
[Featured image: The Leitner Family]