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Yuma baby's battle reaches 3-month milestone
Ayizanna Elaine Yazzie has spent the whole of her short life in a hospital.
The little Yuma girl, now 3 months old, is recovering from surgery to repair what has made her especially fragile: a hole in her heart.
Ayizanna's grandmother, Vivian Jackson, said she's unsure when the baby will come home from Phoenix Children's Hospital, but it's at least another month. Her needs have been a challenge for the family, emotionally and practically. But Jackson speaks vibrantly with love for her daughter's first-born and the support of friends, family and church family who have kept the baby in their prayers.
Ayizanna's doctors knew when she was born at Yuma Regional Medical Center in December that she'd have a heart condition, and when her breathing and heartbeat became erratic they knew they had to get her to Phoenix Children's right away. She's been there since she was 6 days old.
About a week after her March 19 surgery, Ayizanna started coming out of an “induced sleep” that doctors kept her in to keep her still, opening her eyes and squirming toward her mother Christine's voice — stirring emotions in the young mother, who couldn't pick her up while she is connected to machines.
“That was hard on my daughter because it almost looked like Baby couldn't understand why her mama wasn't picking her up,” Jackson said. “My daughter, she was crying a bit. She says ‘Mama, it seems like the baby's wondering why my mama is there but won't pick me up.' I just told her, she knows that you've been there for her from Day 1. You've been bedside all this time and it's just going to take time. You'll be able to eventually hold her.”
Christine quit her job as a blackjack dealer at the Quechan Casino Resort and might not be able to return to work as she cares for her daughter. Ayizanna's father, Garrison Yazzie, continues to work, also dealing cards at the casino, but as soon as he gets off work for the weekends he heads for Phoenix. Because his shift ends at 2 a.m., the family often cajoles him to at least take a nap so his drive is safe, Jackson said.
The family knew from the baby's six-month ultrasound that she would be born with challenges. Ayizanna also has a condition that caused her left arm to have only cartilage but no bone, and she was born with a minor case of spina bifida, which doctors have also corrected. And she will continue to need heart surgeries. Her next will be to correct the orientation of her aorta.
For now, the family stays close, balancing work in Yuma and time in Phoenix as the baby recovers. They hope for a healthy little girl who just had to fight early.
Jackson said anybody who would like to donate money to offset expenses for Ayizanna's parents can call her. Her phone number is 261-5438.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.