Each month Stubbs Dental donates the proceeds of all new patient exams to a deserving member or organization of our community. October 's recipient is Mia Lovato.
I am Heatherly, Victoria’s mother and Mia Rose’s grandmother. It was August 16th, 2018 at 7:00 pm when I got the call. My 22-year-old baby girl, Victoria Rose Lovato was being life flighted from Vernal Utah to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. She was terrified and medical professionals only gave her enough information to cause more confusion and fear. After the helicopter took off, her husband Justin Lovato drove the longest three hours of his life to join his terrified wife and his unborn daughter, Mia Rose at the University Hospital. Victoria had polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid).
Little did any of us know, that night was the beginning of a lifelong medical battle with expenses beyond our imagination.
Despite everyone's best efforts Mia was born 6 weeks early with a Tracheoesophageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresia (TEF/EA). This is a birth defect where the swallowing tube (esophagus) that connects the mouth to the stomach isn’t actually connected. It was impossible for her to swallow. Before her parents could hold her she was rushed off to the NICU and hooked up to IV’s and tubes. At just two days old little Mia Rose had her first invasive surgery among many surgeries to follow.
In the first 30 days of life Mia had well over $200,000 in medical expenses!
As her esophagus scar heals, it tightens her esophagus making it hard for her to swallow. Mia has to be sedated every other week at Primary Children’s to have her esophagus dilated (stretched). At just 10 months old she has already done 6 dilations. She is a super baby after each one! Her nurses are so excited to take care of her because she puts a smile on everyone’s face. She brings a burst of sunshine when life feels so dark.
Along with the TEF, these babies are usually born with other abnormalities, and in Mia’s case she has a hole in her heart (ASD) that has to be monitored and potentially requires a surgery around 3 years old. They are giving her a few more years in hopes the hole closes on its own, but unfortunately it’s not showing any signs of improvement.
It’s scary when any baby gets sick, but when a baby with a TEF gets sick it usually gets bad, fast. Since Mia started daycare a month ago she has gone to the ER twice, first for a cold and second for croup and pneumonia.
Mia has a long road ahead of her full of trips to Primary Children’s for checkups, dilations, and surgeries. She has an amazing medical team at Primary Children’s. Her speech pathologist, feeding therapist, pediatric surgeon, GI, pulmonologist, and cardiologist. She is able to visit them all every 6 months as they come up with a new plan if we aren’t seeing improvement.
We all joke she will be our million dollar baby but we need help from you, our village! Justin and Victoria are a young couple still in college and both working to pay off as much of their medical as possible but it keeps adding up too fast.
The Road Ahead
Daycare is not a safe option for Mia. She needs in home care so she is not exposed to so many germs while she is still so vulnerable. Mia still has 1-2 years of bi-weekly surgeries requiring Justin and Victoria to take time off work and travel to Salt Lake City. Justin and Victoria lose time at work (money) and have travel expenses adding up. They have done a great job keeping their heads above water for almost a year, but they are slowly sinking.
From little raindrops great reservoirs grow. Any donation will help. Donations are needed immediately and will be used to pay off aging medical expenses and help with future medical bills, medication, time off work, and travel expenses.
We are so grateful for any and all the support and prayers we can get to help ease the financial hardship we are facing.
Stubbs Dental was able to donate $2,820 to help Mia. If you are interested in donating to Mia please vist her Go Fund Me.
So remember, when you become a patient at Stubbs Dental not only are you helping yourself by taking care of your teeth, you are helping a deserving organization of your local community! If you would like to nominate someone to receive the Stubbs Dental donation please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.