Amazing Stories | Olivia

Amazing Stories


The doctors in the hospital where she was being treated for pneumonia said that she was too sick to travel to Beijing. For two weeks her little body had been given IV medication, but it was making no difference. Tiny baby Olivia was getting sicker and sicker, and her orphanage was becoming seriously concerned.

Once we received the call asking us to help her, and a bed in a Pediatric Intenstive Care Unit became available, train tickets were booked. Against the doctors’ advice tiny, Olivia set off on a long journey, accompanied by two nannies from her orphanage and supplies of oxygen to help keep her alive while she travelled.

She made it. At the hospital in Beijing they ran tests and it turns out there was a very good reason why the pneumonia medication had not been helping her. The X-rays had indeed shown a large white area on the lungs, but this was not fluid resulting from an infection. Instead it was the results of a serious condition called ‘cardiac pulmonary edema’, where blood backs up from the heart into the lungs.

Olivia needs a heart operation soon, and we are waiting and hoping for her to be stable enough. If she had stayed in the local hospital being mistakenly treated for pneumonia much longer then her story would probably be over already, but now we believe that it is just beginning.

November 22, 2013

Olivia was admitted into the PICU ward of the Army hospital upon her arrival to Beijing, a place that would become her home for the next five weeks. For nearly two weeks she lay alone in an ICU bed, medical staff and monitors as her only company. On December 4th, the doctors told us that Olivia needed to have surgery right away. Her condition was stable, but Olivia was by no means ready for a major open-heart surgery. But there was no other option – without immediate surgery, Olivia would deteriorate and all hope would be lost.

The surgery took three and a half hours and while it was successful and the surgeon was able to repair her heart, Olivia was very unstable post-op. Her left lung, weak and damaged after months of improper blood flow and hypertension, had collapsed. Olivia’ heart was enlarged and her heart rate was so low and unstable that the doctors had to resort to medication to attempt to stabilize her. 24 hours after surgery she was still not stable enough to have her chest closed, and remained in dangerous condition.

Each minute of Olivia’ recovery was touch-and-go. But she kept fighting, and two days later the surgeons were able to close up her chest. Extubating was another story, though, and for eight days after surgery Olivia depended on machines to breath. Multiple times the doctors attempted to wean her from the ventilator, but not until December 22nd was the transition from complete intubation to CPAP successful.

As the days went by, Olivia slowly improved. She began receiving nutrition through an NG-tube, and continued to be fever-free. On New Years Eve she was transferred from PICU to the regular ward, which meant that for the first time in her life, Olivia would have a mama to hold her in the hospital and to comfort her when she cried. Olivia was abandoned as a newborn and admitted into her local PICU right away, she never had anybody who was there to care just for her.

Olivia was getting better, but because she was still so tiny and weak, we anticipated that she had at least a few more weeks in the hospital to regain her strength before she could come home. Each step of her journey – her travel to Beijing, surviving heart surgery, learning how to breath on her own – was a miracle. On January 7th the most incredible miracle happened. Olivia was released from the hospital. She weighed only 2.7kg (about six pounds), and was severely malnourished. She is not yet the strong and healthy little girl that we hope she will become, but she’s alive. Her eyes are bright and alert and there is someone to cradle her close and adore her during each moment of her day.

With each chapter of Olivia’ story we have seen many miracles occur and stood in awe of a powerful, healing God. We cannot wait to see what’s next for her… it’s bound to be breathtaking.

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New Day Foster Home | Qingyundian Township - Daxing District | Beijing, P.R. China 102605 | 86-10-8028-2124

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