It was time to climb the mountain before me

The Heart Princess of the 2016 Capital Region Heart Walk, Eliana, was born in the fall of 2008. Here’s her story, told from her perspective.

Clem Family
Leah, Eliana and Chad Clem

I had been growing in my mommy’s tummy just fine until I was 20 weeks gestation when all of a sudden my mom had to keep going for ultrasound appointments.

The doctors could see something was wrong with my heart but didn’t know exactly what it was until my Mom went to the pediatric cardiologist. My Mom had to lay very still while Dr. Spooner examined my heart.

That day I could hear the doctor explain to my mommy & daddy that I had four congenital heart defects. I could feel my mom crying and knew that this was serious.  I overheard the doctor tell my parents that it would be best for me to be born full term and to have a regular delivery. I planned on staying inside until the full 40 weeks.   That day was the first time I decided I was going to be a fighter.

Next I heard my parents talking to Dr. Devejian about how he was going to fix my heart when I was 2 days old.   There were lots of doctors appointments and I could hear the plan unfold about my open heart surgery with more details each time.

I think I get my fighting spirit from my Dad. My Dad decided that I needed a name that would have great meaning.  After searching names, he found a Hebrew name that meant My God Has Answered. My name would be Eliana.

On October 19th, 2008 it was time for me to meet my Daddy, Mommy, big sister and brother.  I was born with a crowd of nurses and doctors all surrounding me.  My diagnosis of Aortic Interruption, Ventricular Septal Defect, Atrial Septal Defect, and Bicuspid Aortic Valve were all confirmed.  It was time to climb the mountain before me.  But I didn’t have to face any of it alone.  Down the hall in the waiting room there were all my grandparents, aunts & uncles, friends and my pastors from my church.  So many people were praying for ME, Eliana.  God was going to answer their prayers and use Dr. Devejian and the team at Albany Medical Center to save my life.

I weighed 5 lbs 15 oz when I was 2 days old and rolled into the operating room. I don’t remember much except for sleeping peacefully for the next eight hours.  When I woke up a couple days later I was attached to lots of tubes and wires.  I looked up and looked right at my mommy & daddy.  There was relief in their eyes!

Today I am 8 years old, I still get my heart checked every so often. I still have one defect that may eventually need to be fixed.  But in the meantime, nothing is slowing me down.  I’m in 2nd grade and take acrobatic dance.  I love life!  I keep up with my big sis & bro, I roller blade, swim, and ride my bike.  God has great plans for me and I intend to do each and everything He has planned.  I hold tight to my name, Eliana, because God Has Answered!

2 thoughts on “It was time to climb the mountain before me”

  1. Wonderful article, I personally know this beautiful little girl and family. They have certainly gone through several battles regarding this; however their faith has not wavered one bit. Remember praying a lot during the delivery time and various surgeries for Eliana, with high expectations, cautiously. Thankfully, she is quite healthy now as the article states. Thank’s for doing this article and thanks Leah & Chad for putting into words what everyone of you went through, especially Eliana!!!

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