PORTLAND -- In Alaska, the Schwartz family couldn’t get the heart and lung bypass their 8-week-old daughter desperately needed. So after five ambulance rides and two flights, the family was finally able to get their baby to Legacy Emanuel hospital in Portland for the urgent procedure.
In her short life, the Schwartz family's baby girl has mostly been silent. She was continually hooked up to machines, and unable to cry.
Before their daughter was born, doctors told Annie and Alex Schwartz that everything with the pregnancy seemed fine. But four hours after the delivery, something was clearly wrong.
“We were both looking at her and said ‘there’s something not right here,’” Annie Schwartz said. “She had trouble breathing.”
“They had to start doing CPR on her and that was a very scary thing,” Alex Schwartz said. “They offered to bring in a professional photographer to take pictures and that’s something they do when it looks like a baby might not make it.”
The Randall Children's hospital room at Legacy Emanuel is nowhere close to home, but it likely saved their daughter's life. A chart Annie Schwartz made on the wall documents how they got to Portland.
Doctors warned the baby might not survive the flight. And when she did, the next obstacle was for their daughter to survive the heart and lung bypass called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.
“I found out later when they suggest ECMO it’s because a patient is believed to have a five-percent chance of living,” Annie Schwartz said.
She beat the odds. And on her mom's white board calendar, Valentine’s Day is hardly the way they'll remember this February 14th, it’s a day they finally heard their baby cry
The Schwartz family couldn't be more grateful to our Portland and Legacy Emanuel hospital but they also couldn't be happier to leave.
KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.