Even though Brianna was still laughing and playing, something was very wrong – she had a growing stomach.
The wait for the test results was agonizing for her parents, who didn’t know what to expect. Their minds raced with a million questions.
Was their baby’s condition treatable? Would she be okay?
Throughout the years, Angela and Jonah Robbins had been an ideal couple. Upon learning of their pregnancy, they were overjoyed.
It was even more exciting to discover that they were expecting a girl.
They awaited her arrival with great anticipation, reading books and enrolling in birthing classes.
Things Seemed Fine
At the time of Brianna’s birth, she appeared perfectly healthy. Her parents were ecstatic, and they marveled at her tiny fingers and toes for hours.
Their new life together as a family began a few days after bringing her home from the hospital.
The doting parents were unaware something serious was occurring inside their baby that was not detected by the ultrasound, even though the baby appeared normal on the outside.
A Bloated Stomach
As with any other baby girl, Brianna was healthy and had a good appetite. When it was time for feeding, she would always fuss.
It was obvious to Angela that her baby had a bloated stomach all the time.
It might be that the infant was not digesting her breast milk. Despite the fact that the problem was much more severe than she imagined, the new mother was unaware of it.
Was It An Overreaction?
The baby remained bloated even after Angela tried gripe water. With each passing day, Angela saw Brianna’s stomach growing.
After becoming frantic, Angela told her husband they must rush her to the hospital right away.
In response to his wife’s overreaction, Jonah told her to calm down, “We’ll take her in the morning if she’s still bloated.” Unfortunately, his carelessness cost him dearly.
A Strange Sight
Angela got the shock of her life when she checked on her baby in the morning. Upon discovering what she had found, she gasped and screamed in horror.
What had happened to her baby? In her child’s cot, she discovered a strange creature.
Angela called for her husband, and he came racing into the room.
What he saw made the grown man fall to his knees in tears. What had happened to his child? He scanned the cot from top to bottom. What happened, however, remained a mystery.
Brianna’s body lay there, yellow skin and a bigger stomach than before.
Compared to the sweet baby they had put down in the crib the previous night, she looked different.
Making The Trip
The morning sun turned Brianna’s skin a strange yellow color. Jonah and Angela weren’t sure what to think. Initially, Jonah thought it was just a baby issue.
He was scolded by his wife, “I told you we should have gone to the hospital last night! ”
Trying to calm Brianna down, Jonah grabbed Brianna’s diaper bag and started for the door, looking guilty. “Let’s go right now,” he said.
Consulting The Doctor
In a state of frenzied distress, the parents went directly to the emergency room. Fortunately, a pediatrician was on call to take a look at the child.
Despite several tests, the doctors were unable to pinpoint the exact problem. The head pediatrician was a kind, short man named Dr. Hanson. As he said, “it may be something serious or something minor, we can’t be sure yet.
For now, we have given her a few supplements to boost her immunity.” The results of the tests would provide more information.
What Was The Cause?
With their sick child in tow, the worried parents went home. Her health was failing, and she didn’t know why. Despite her appearance, she was unaware of it.
Angela prayed for her daughter’s well-being. Over the coming days, she kept a close eye on her.
They knew something was very wrong when the yellowing did not disappear.
Brianna’s stomach continued to grow. Although she had a huge abnormality on her abdomen. She was still laughing and playing with her parents while they tried to get their mind off the pending test results.
Was their little girl going to be okay? Would there be an available treatment for their child?
They had no idea what to expect.
Results Are In
After a series of tests, the doctors diagnosed Brianna with Biliary atresia. The news hit Angela and Jonah hard. They were devastated that their precious baby girl was sick.
The doctors explained that Brianna’s condition meant that she did not have a gallbladder and that her liver was not functioning properly. Without treatment, her condition would only worsen, and she would eventually need a liver transplant to survive.
How To Manage
Angela and Jonah were beside themselves with worry. They spent countless hours researching Brianna’s condition and reaching out to doctors for advice.
They took her to specialist after specialist, hoping for a miracle.
They were dying inside, knowing that their baby girl was going through so much pain. How could this have happened to them?
These Are Your Options
Many doctors told the parents that a liver donor would be the best option to save little Brianna. The parents knew that it would be a difficult task to mind a match and that the waiting list was long.
Months went by without a donor being found. Angela and Jonah were growing increasingly desperate.
They watched helplessly as their daughter grew weaker and weaker with each passing day.
One night, Jonah sat down with Angela and made a life-changing decision. He wanted to donate his own liver to save Brianna’s life.
Angela was hesitant at first, but Jonah was insistent. He was a perfect match for Brianna, and he knew that he was her best chance at survival.
Angela was impressed at her husband’s bravery.
A Fathers Sacrifice
As the days passed, they still hadn’t found a suitable donor. Jonah reapproached his wife with the offer to donate his liver to his daughter.
Jonah was determined to save his daughter’s life. He was adamant about donating a part of his own liver to her.
Whatever the risk, he was willing to go through it for his baby girl.
A Guardian Angel
Finally, an organ donor was found just in time. It was an old man, Arthur, who had signed up to be an organ donor.
He was old, but his liver was still healthy enough to be used and was going to be used for two little girls.
It was a bittersweet moment for Angela and Jonah as they knew that someone else had to suffer in their life for their daughter to live. Arthur was a hero.
It Takes A Team
The doctors planned the procedure carefully. Brianna’s body was small and frail. They had to ensure every precaution was taken so that she wouldn’t pick up any infections.
Angela and Jonah spent some time in the hospital church chapel.
They were not particularly religious, but today they needed all the blessings they could possibly get.
The transplant surgery was scheduled, and Angela and Jonah were on edge the entire time. They paced the waiting room, praying for good news. Jonah was getting impatient.
It was a difficult and stressful time for the couple. They spent hours in the waiting room, hoping for Brianna’s safe recovery. The doctors were taking a long time, and every minute felt like an eternity.
Jonah decided to walk inside the theater to find out what was going on.
All of a sudden, Angela heard screams coming from the theater. She turned her face in horror and saw six big security guards dragging her husband out of the operating theater.
“Let me go!” he shouted, “that’s my daughter in there.” Jonah struggled to get loose.
They had caught him and were not letting go.
The security guards were not playing around and held him fast. Angela begged them to let him go. “Please try and understand our predicament; it’s been hours with no news,” she sobbed.
It never even crossed her mind to ask why they arrested her husband.
What had he done, and why were they keen to manhandle him in such a terrible manner?
He Won’t Get Away With It
“He won’t get away with it,” Jonah screamed as the guards dragged him away.
“I’ll get him for this! I’ll make him pay!”
Angela’s worry split in the middle. Half of it stayed with her ailing daughter, unconscious under the doctors’ scalpels, while the other half went to her husband, who must’ve seen something terrible enough to cause such a meltdown.
Since she couldn’t bulge into the operating room as more guards had appeared at the door, she turned her attention to the corridor Jonah had disappeared into.
It wasn’t like her husband to lose his cool like this, and Angela needed to find out what had triggered such a violent reaction from him.
If only she knew how bad the situation was.
Into The Halls
But as she was hurrying down the cold hall, the overwhelming scent of antiseptic all but caked into her skin and clothes, she saw a sight that made her halt.
A police cruiser was pulling into the hospital parking lot.
Three more followed behind it, and about a dozen officers hopped out. They wasted no time in rushing into the building.
Angela didn’t know what to make of what she’d witnessed. She’d never seen officers swarming a hospital in all her years.
But something within her screamed that this connected directly to what her husband had seen in the theater.
What was going on in that operating room that even the police had to be called in?
A worried Angela turned on her heels. Her husband could take care of himself in the face of trouble. Her little daughter couldn’t.
She dashed down the hall, weaving through nurses and people seeking medical attention. She turned the corner that led to the main theater where her daughter was. But what she saw wizened her insides.
In A Gurney
The theater’s door was wide ajar, with a few nurses rolling the man who was supposed to donate part of his to liver to Brianna. Angela didn’t even know the man was in the same operating room as her daughter.
His nose was bleeding as if someone had broke it with a punch.
Two officers were escorting him behind the nurses pushing his gurney. But that was the least worrying thing that would happen there.
The Surgeons Too?
The remaining officers had handcuffed two surgeons dressed in bloodied scrubs. The surgeons didn’t even put up a fight, only hurled out obscenities as the officers marched them away.
Angela yelped when she realized the officers had dragged the surgeons out of the operation.
She stared at the blood on their scrubs with wide eyes. What was happening? Was her little angel okay? Who’s blood was that?
Going To Her
Angela screamed these questions as she hurried to the theater.
She needed to know that her kid was okay before she’d let her mind ponder what was happening.
But none of the nurses and the remaining officers would answer her. She had to brute force her way past the heavily guarded door, keen on seeing her little angel.
Inside The Theater
Angela entered the room, her lips parting. Two new surgeons were still working, leaning over the operating table. A glass barrier had sealed them in, ensuring no disturbance or germs entered the workspace.
She couldn’t see Brianna and had to stand on her toes and crane her neck to get a glimpse beyond the surgeon’s shoulders.
Walk With Me
A man she’d never seen before asked her to walk out with him, maintaining that what was happening here was more than her family. He was dressed in regular clothes, although there was an air of importance to how he carried himself.
Angela followed her out. She folded her hands above her chest, her mind a step away from spiraling.
“Make this fast,” she snapped.
A War Path
Angela had been distraught about her daughter’s health for the past few days. She’d been worried that Brianna wouldn’t make it.
But now that she and Jonah were so close to seeing their daughter come back to health, this had happened.
She was no longer distraught. The pain was morphing into an overpowering rage—woe to anyone who got in her path.
A mother’s fury burned within Angela’s veins, shining through her dark irises. “I said speak,” she snapped, and the man pulled her to the side.
“I am Chief Inspector Martin Kelvins,” he started.
“I know you have many questions about what’s going on here. It is a sensitive matter, ma’am, but your family is smack in the middle of it. I’m here to answer them, ma’am.”
Looking For Answers
“Why did you interrupt my daughter’s surgery?” Angela seethed. “Why did you arrest the man meant to save her life and the doctors who wanted to see the process through?”
“Because if we were a minute late, you would have lost your daughter, Mrs. Robbins,” the inspector said.
“As I said, this is more than your family.”
Down The Hall
The inspector’s words bore deep into Angela. “What do you mean by that?” she asked, and the inspector asked her to accompany him down the hall.
Their walk was quiet, unsettling. The inspector opened a door that fed into a waiting lounge.
At the furthest end of the room sat Jonah, who shot to his feet the moment he saw Angela.
Is She Safe?
“Is Brianna safe,” he asked, his voice a screech. Had he been screaming? His knuckles were bloodied. “The remaining surgeons are working to stabilize her condition,” said the inspector.
Angela could feel a weight lift off her shoulders. But Jonah’s face fell the moment he heard the inspector’s answer.
Wasn’t he glad his daughter’s operation was done?
Isn’t It A Good Thing?
His head fell into his trembling hands, and he cursed, continuously tapping his leg against the cold floor.
“This can’t be happening,” he whispered. His eyes were wet with tears when he lifted his head.
“Why?” Angela asked. “Isn’t this a good thing?” Jonah stared at her, his eyes broadening. “Oh, you don’t know, do you?”
The Truth Is Laid Bare
“Know what?” Angela asked. “There wasn’t any liver to be donated, Mrs. Robbins,” the inspector said.
“That’s why my team is here. The man we arrested, together with the two surgeons, is part of a dangerous crime ring in the city.
They prey on vulnerable parents like yourself and lie to them that they are donating organs to save their kids’ lives. But the surgeons declare the kids dead and steal their body parts to sell off in the black market.”
What Her Husband Did
Angela was speechless. “So, all of this, the good news about a liver donor, was all a lie?” she stammered.
“I am afraid it was,” the inspector answered.
“We are lucky your husband stormed into the theater when he did. He’s the one who called us after he found the donor walking around the theater room instead of being out cold on an operating table.”
The Least Of Her Worries
Angela reached a hand to Jonah, rubbing his forearm as her tears flowed.
Wasn’t it enough that their daughter was suffering this much? Did someone want to rob them of her?
“Those three men are going away for a very long time,” the inspector said. He had no idea that that was the least of Angela’s worries.
“What do we do now?” Angela asked Jonah as soon as the inspector left the room.
They had been so close to the end that she could almost taste it. Now they were back in square one.
Jonah patted the seat next to him, and she took it. He pulled her closer, hugging her from the side. “I’m going to do what I should have done from the get-go.”
The Best Thing In His World
Jonah made plans to donate part of his liver to Brianna. That had been the original plan, and he was going to see it through. He didn’t listen when people tried to warn him against it.
Some said it would be painful. Others maintained that it would never work. Others said he’d die in the process. But Jonah didn’t care. This was his daughter, the best gift his wife had ever blessed him with.
He’d die first before he let anything bad happen to her.
The ordeal with the donor and the two surgeons had put the Robbins on edge.
But they wouldn’t relent until their daughter was healthy.
They made the necessary preparations, and before Jonah knew it, three nurses were hovering above him as the anesthesia kicked in. It was now or never.
Next Step, Please
The operation was successful, but its aftermath was a nerve-wracking pain. But Angela could see that Jonah was content with his actions. All they needed to do now was give the liver part to Brianna.
The doctors wheeled Brianna into the theater that same evening. Angela and Jonah waiting anxiously for the process to complete. Jonah was still dressed in the patient’s attire and seated in a wheelchair.
He was in pain and should’ve been in bed resting. But nothing would stop him from being here today.
Is It Over?
Finally, they saw the doors to the theater room open. When the doctors finally emerged, they looked exhausted.
Angela’s eyes opened wide when she saw them. The doctor saw her and looked away.
“Doctor doctor,” she jumped up and ran towards them, “how is she? Did the liver take in her body?” The worried mother searched the doctor’s face for answers to her child’s wellbeing.
A Broken Man
Jonah just stared at him like a deer caught in the headlights. He was breathing heavily. He hung his head in shame, and the guards realized he wasn’t a threat and let him go.
They disappeared with the doctor back behind the theater doors. Jonah had to behave himself if he wanted the doctors to do their best.
How could he have been so stupid? He could have jeopardized the whole operation.
Time Goes Slowly
The doctors were taking longer than expected in the operating room, and Angela and Jonah were getting more and more anxious. Two long hours had passed since the altercation with the security guards.
Finally, they saw the doors to the theater room open. Three nurses walked out and looked straight in their direction.
Would it be good news?
They Won’t Say
The nurses whispered something to each other and quickly disappeared behind another set of doors.
Angela sighed in despair. They were gone before she had a chance to hail them down.
Who could give her information? Where were the doctors? The frantic mother didn’t know that she was searching for news she didn’t want to hear.
Hard To Find The Words
When the doctors finally emerged, they looked exhausted. Angela’s eyes opened wide when she saw them. The doctor saw her and looked away.
“Doctor doctor,” she jumped up and ran towards them, “how is she? Did the liver take in her body?”
The worried mother searched the doctor’s face for answers to her child’s wellbeing.
Sitting On The Fence
But the more she searched, the less answers she got. Eventually, the doctor let out a heavy sigh and motioned to the couch.
He informed them that the operation had taken eight grueling hours because it had been touch and go the entire time.
He had previously warned Angela and Jonah that it would take time for Brianna’s body to heal. However, at that point, there was no guarantee that the transplant would be successful.
The surgery was a difficult one from the start, and the doctors still didn’t know if it was successful or not. But they chose to keep Brianna sedated for the next few days, just in case.
If she woke up immediately and things went wrong, the results would’ve been catastrophic.
So, the doctor decided that the best way forward was to keep her sedated until they knew how her body would react.
Neither of them knew what to say. They were happy that their daughter had made it through the surgery. But knowing that she wasn’t out of the woods yet scared them.
They were under the assumption that she would come out of the operating room and be fine.
But things turned out to be far more complicated than that.
On A Whim
They watched as Brianna was pushed out of the operating room, and they followed. But the sight they were met with horrified them. They didn’t expect things to be that bad.
However, they weren’t going to back down. Angela and Jonah watched over Brianna in shifts.
They wanted her to know that she would never be alone.
But it wasn’t easy for the couple. Day in and day out, they sat there watching their little girl, looking like an angel.
She was still in a deep sleep. And even though they knew the truth, they couldn’t help but wonder if she was still with them.
At times, it really didn’t look like it, and because of that, they began wondering if she would ever wake up.
Then one day, she did. The doctor came in, injected something in her IV, and Brianna finally woke up. She was groggy and a little confused, but that was more than her parents could’ve asked for.
Brianna still looked a little strange with the incubator around her and all the pipes in her arms. But as soon as she saw her parents, she smiled and reached out for them.
It was a small gesture, but meaningful gesture.
The Best Day Ever
Unable to help herself, Angela let out a little laugh. The relief she felt was overwhelming, and she could tell that Jonah felt the same way.
He stumbled toward the incubator, and as soon as he put his hands on it, tears started flowing down his cheeks.
Angela had never seen her husband so vulnerable before, but she knew exactly how he felt.
Over the next few days, Brianna began to recover. The yellow tint faded from her skin, and she started to gain weight. It was everything Angela and Jonah were hoping for, and they were overjoyed with her progress.
They knew that they had been given a second chance, and they weren’t going to waste it.
But they weren’t out of the woods yet. Their baby would need a lot of special care to avoid a relapse.
A New Life
Despite her newfound health, Brianna was still far from being a healthy baby. She required special care and attention. But her parents were all too happy to provide it.
They were willing to spend the countless hours visiting doctors and making sure that Brianna was getting the best possible care.
But Jonah knew that wouldn’t come cheap. He was starting to wonder how he was going to pay for it all.
A Man With A Plan
Jonah knew what had to be done, but he wasn’t going to miss a second of his daughter’s life because he needed a second job. So he came up with a solution that benefited everyone.
He explained the situation to his boss and asked if he could work from home instead. His boss agreed. And not long after that, he got a second work-from-home job to cover the extra costs.
Everything seemed to be going in the right direction.
Better And Better
Over the next few weeks, Angela and Jonah were able to take their daughter home. Brianna was recovering, and the more she did, the looked more like a regular girl.
With each month that passed, Brianna grew stronger and healthier. But Angela and Jonah would never forget what they went through.
And they would always be grateful for every day that they had with their daughter.
It’s The Little Things
Angela and Jonah cherished every moment they had with Brianna.
They took pictures of her every single day and always made sure that one of them was with her at all times in case something special happened.
They went to every single doctor’s appointment together, and every time the doctor told them everything was fine, they felt a little weight lifting from their hearts.
A Special Story
Angela and Jonah learned two very important things during this journey. One was how to appreciate everything and everyone in their lives.
And the second was that they were stronger together. Despite everything they had gone through while on that roller coaster, Angela and Jonah were closer than they had ever been.
It bonded them in ways they couldn’t begin to explain.
When Brianna was at her strongest, the couple started planning for the future. They talked about the trips they wanted to take her on and the places they wanted her to visit.
Jonah was excited about teaching her to swim. And Angela couldn’t wait to watch her take her first steps.
They were excited to see what the future held for their little family. And as they watched Brianna grow and thrive, they knew that they had truly experienced a miracle.
It Wasn’t The End
However, Angela and Jonah knew that their long road to recovery didn’t end there. They would still be faced with a lot of challenges, and they might even end up where they started.
But they also knew that it didn’t matter what was thrown their way.
They would face it as the strong family they were.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.