Paola and Edil were excited to welcome a third child to their home, which they also share with three grandparents. Paola was rigorous about attending all her prenatal appointments, and she enjoyed an uneventful pregnancy. But the baby was whisked away from her mother immediately after birth to be treated for jaundice. A full week later, the baby was still largely isolated in the hospital. Only then were Paola and Edil told their daughter appeared to have Down syndrome, accompanied by congenital heart problems. As Edil describes that moment: “It was very difficult for us to assimilate it, but we realized she is a little angel and this is not her fault, and as parents we want to care for her and watch her grow alongside us.”
The first months with their new baby were difficult. Brianna struggled to nurse, quickly tiring from the immense effort it required and losing her breath. When their baby was three months old, her parents were referred to the local Solidarity Bridge office, Puente de Solidaridad, for help to provide the surgery she needed to avoid further complications and improve her quality of life. Dr. Carlos Brockman performed the operation on October 21st, 2014, at the Belga Clinic in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Brianna was sent home on November 1st.
Her older siblings, especially 11-year-old Paul Enrique, were initially reluctant to accept the idea that Brianna had Down syndrome. But he and the entire extended family have since learned more about Down syndrome and are beginning to overcome some common myths and stereotypes about the condition. Thanks to her surgery, Brianna will now have a better shot at thriving under the care of her large extended family. The family is especially grateful to Isaac and Renee Goff for giving them the opportunity to raise their precious daughter.