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Esophageal Atresia: Meet Baby Mya

Earlier in January, LWB was contacted by an orphanage who had just received a newborn baby in critical condition. Mya was severely dehydrated and struggling to breathe. We immediately rushed her to a top children’s hospital, where she was diagnosed with a condition known as Esophageal Atresia (EA).

EA is a rare congenital birth defect that impacts approximately 1 in every 4,000 newborns. As you know, the esophagus is the long tube that joins a person’s mouth to the stomach (basically the hollow tube that all the food you eat goes down). The esophagus forms during the first few months of gestation, and for unknown reasons, babies with EA have an esophagus which doesn’t connect to the stomach and often ends in a short pouch. Newborns with this birth defect choke when being fed and are at high risk of breathing fluid into their lungs. In fact, little Mya was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia upon arrival, which is why she was struggling to breathe.

EA is a surgical emergency. Without immediate medical care, it’s a lethal condition, as the baby can’t swallow or feed normally. An operation to connect the two ends of the esophagus is normally done almost immediately after birth. Somehow Mya had survived for over a week, but that’s why she was in such critical condition when found.

Thankfully, surgeons were able to operate on Mya quickly, and she was placed on a ventilator following her operation.

After three days, we were thrilled that Mya was able to come off of the vent and begin breathing on her own.

Mya will remain in the ICU while she recovers and then will begin learning to drink from a bottle. Right now, while her esophagus heals, she is being tube fed. We’re happy to report that she’s tolerating the formula well, and so far there are no signs of other complications. Like many babies with EA, Mya also has a small heart defect which we will monitor closely.

Once precious Mya is ready for discharge, she’ll come to stay in our Healing Home program, as there’s a chance she will need dilation of her esophagus while it continues to heal. The great news is that with proper medical care, most children recover well from EA and don’t have long-term issues.

Would you like to be on Team Mya to cheer her along on her journey? We welcome donations in any amount to help support her life-saving medical care.

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