"Mighty Girl" to her parents Matt and Heidi Van Kirk, a 2-pound infant from Michigan has become one of the smallest babies in the world to go through a tricky heart surgery.
Alexandra Mae Van Kirk had a blocked artery owing to a congenital defect and, therefore, has to undergo a heart surgery to open up the artery.
A week post the surgery, the "Mighty Girl," also nicknamed Sasha, is showing signs of improvement and her heart seems to be working as the infant is growing as she should.
"We just call her our mighty girl because she is so mighty," reveals mother Heidi.
At 22 weeks pregnant, Heidi discovered that her baby was not growing as the doctors had hoped. The parents learnt that Alexandra had a 35 percent chance of making it. Despite all odds, on July 7 (8 weeks premature) Heidi gave birth to her Mighty Girl who was all of two pounds and three ounces.
However, when their baby daughter was just one and half weeks old, she needed to undergo her first surgery for an intestinal issue. Barely a week later, Sasha had to have the heart surgery as the doctors found that her pulmonary valve did not close and open well as it was stuck.
The "tricky" surgery was performed by Dr. Joseph Vettukattil at the DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids and took 45 minutes. Vettukattil has performed over 300 pulmonary balloon valvuloplasty procedures in the last two decades. However, the tiniest patient he has performed the surgery on was four pounds. The doctor had heard of only one or two cases of similar surgeries being performed on babies that were smaller than Sasha.
An elated and visibly relieved Matt Van Kirk revealed to the Grand Rapids Press that the baby was "doing fantastic." The baby has an excellent prognosis per mom Heidi.
"She'll always have a slight murmur, but it's nothing to be concerned about," revealed Heidi Van Kirk to WWJ Newsradio 950. "They're very excited about how it's gone; and they're watching it every day since and taking echos of it, and it's just great. Everything's going great with her heart."