I am only one of the many faces of EA/TEF.I am only one, with a small voice but great hope.
While there is no cure for EA/TEF, there is hope,
and where there is hope, there are miracles.
I am one of those miracles.
— Super Ireland’s Mom
Meet Super Ireland – Super Princess Ireland. The world surely isn’t ready for the way this TinySuperhero is going to stir things up!
Super Ireland has been keeping her mom, dad, and two brothers on their toes since her arrival on December 15, 2007. Ireland was born with several medical conditions including: Down Syndrome, a hole in her heart (atrial septal defect), a missing leaflet in her aortic valve (bicuspid aortic valve), lung disease, and Esophageal Atresia (EA). Ireland was very sick at birth, and was airlifted to the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital.
Esophageal Atresia may sound familiar from Super Isaac’s story. This condition means that the esophagus ends in a blind pouch, rather than connecting to the stomach, making it impossible for food to make it to the stomach. Super Ireland and Super Isaac share the same form of EA, although Ireland’s has been a bit tricky to repair.
Super Ireland’s first year was full of surgeries. Right after birth, she had a G Tube placed, so she could receive nourishment. A few months later, they tried connecting her esophagus, but discovered the gap (or atresia) was too large. They attempted the connection anyways, which later ended in emergency surgery, only to find out that the two pieces of her esophagus had completely broken apart. By this time, Ireland only had a small bit of upper esophagus left, so she relied on a tube to use for drainage and a trach for breathing. This tube had to be replaced weekly under general anesthesia. In September of 2011, she developed a bronchopulmonary fistula, resulting in a massive pulmonary hemorrhage. Ireland has terrified doctors and beaten odds many times.
Finally, in October of 2012, Super Ireland got what her family was waited on for 5 years – a complete esophagus – a colophagus (a mix between esophagus and colon). This is a miracle. This surgery wasn’t hiccup-free either, and with each hiccup Super Princess Ireland surprises the doctors with her ability to bounce back! I think Ireland’s mom gives us a pretty good idea (and puts into perspective) what a major victory this colophagus is for Ireland’s family. They have worked so hard and given so much to celebrate something most of us try hard to avoid:
If EA sounds familiar, it’s because Super Isaac has the same condition. In fact, it was Super Isaac who introduced us to this princess because she is his very special lady friend! Medically, Isaac & Ireland share a diagnosis of EA, but as you will see in the photos below, their friendship is bound together by more than a diagnosis.
Princess Ireland’s super powers go beyond defying medical odds, rocking an extra chromosome, or having a hole in her heart. Super Ireland is a TinySuperhero because she is a girl full of love. She smiles through surgeries, long stays in the hospital, and among her family at home. She makes the people around her smile! She works incredibly hard in physical therapy, has Super Isaac wrapped around her finger, cuddles a baby like she was born to be a mother, and in everything, she smiles. Ireland is a teacher, a fighter, a lover, and we’re honored to call her a TinySuperhero.
This Princess LOVES having new friends on her Facebook Page: Ireland’s Journey. There, you can send her love and continue to follow her journey. Ireland has already brought so much joy into the world and has only just begun.