Meet Emmalou Parker

Like most newborns, Emma Parker cried immediately after her birth in April 2006. Not the healthy cries of a new baby, but her parents, Suzanne and Daryl, noticed Emma’s cries were quiet and muffled. Their parental instincts told them something was not right, and the delivery room staff confirmed it when they told them Emma had a cleft palate. And there were other complications; Emma began losing oxygen and quickly had to be intubated. Soon the physicians and nurses discovered, Emma had patent ductus arteriosus, a heart problem which causes abnormal blood flow between major arteries connected to the heart.

The distance between the Parker’s home, West Monroe, Louisiana and Little Rock is about 180 miles, and takes just over three hours to drive. For Emma, it might as well have been a trip around the world.

“Arkansas Children’s was contacted and plans were made for Emma’s transfer; however, Emma was very fragile,” says Suzanne. “She easily lost her normal functions when she was moved in any fashion. But she was able to be airlifted to Arkansas Children’s by Angel One.”

Emma was only thirteen days old, and already donations from people like you were helping save her life.

At Arkansas Children’s, Emma was diagnosed with Pierre Robin sequence. The disease “results in severe difficulty breathing and eating, as well as severe speech impediments,” says Suzanne. “Emma had trouble breathing. She was placed on her belly to force her tongue out of her airway to help her breathe.” On her 1-month birthday, Emma had mandibular distraction surgery.

“Emma’s surgery, which pulled her lower jaw outward and forward, was miraculous!” says Suzanne. “It allowed Emma to breathe on her own, normally, for the first time.”

Thanks to generous donors like you, Emma now doing well. “Emma has tested out of speech, occupational and physical therapy,” says Suzanne. “Arkansas Children’s has done so much for our family! When we first came here, Daryl and I were overwhelmed. We were not prepared for a sick baby–especially not a baby that required a prolonged hospital stay followed by regular, frequent visits over the first year of her life.”

Time has made it easier for the Parkers. They have adjusted to the regular visits, procedures, and surgeries at Arkansas Children’s. “It’s just part of Emma’s life,” says Suzanne. “Arkansas Children’s made it easier from the first second we walked in the front door. The staff understood us, understood our apprehension and worry over our baby’s health, where we were going to stay, our finances. The staff helps us find the answers. The staff is able to do that because of generous donors. That’s why as a grateful parent, I too give to Arkansas Children’s so that children like Emma have a chance at a healthier tomorrow.”

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