By I-O Reporter Deanna Wakkinen
Conrad’s New Year’s baby was Briella Stordahl, born to Randy and Anne on Jan. 6. Little did they know, the next six months were going to be a roller coaster ride.
For the first two months of Briella’s life, she spent her time eating every hour and a half and continued to not gain weight. At her two month appointment, Dr. Peter Barran heard a murmur in Briella’s heart rhythm and referred the family to Great Falls to see a specialist.
Young Briella had been born with a hole in her heart about a half inch in diameter. The condition is called ventrial septal defect or VSD.
Surgery to repair the hole would have to wait until Briella reached the age of six months and so began the waiting game.
Her family worked diligently to prevent her from coming in contact with illnesses. The family felt like they had to seclude her so she wouldn’t get sick in her fragile state. Her heart was already working very hard.
At six months old, Briella went into surgery weighing only 11 pounds, four ounces. The four hour surgery took place at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City where she stayed for four days.
Briella continues her follow-up care in Great Falls and has finally made it on the growth chart for infants her age. Her mom comments, “She’s like we traded her in! She’s doing great.”
Briella is now nine months old and continues to grow; she has gained five pounds since her surgery. She has a seven-year-old brother named Brayden and a five-year-old sister named Brylee.