Emma's Story

Images Captured by Captivating Photography by Sarah West

Tiny light Emma is a sweet six-year old who loves to dance like a
ballerina and play with her Lalaloopsy dolls. She is very artistic and
enjoys colouring and doing crafts. While she had a challenging start to her
life, she has shown incredible strength and brings joy to those around her.

At 32 weeks gestation, Emma was diagnosed with a right congenital
diaphragmatic hernia. Her diaphragm did not close while in utero, allowing
her liver and bowels to rise into her chest cavity. This compressed both of
her lungs and pushed her heart to the left. Emma’s parents were told that
if their daughter made it through birth, she would have only a 10%
chance of survival. After three days in the NICU, she underwent
life-saving surgery, which was a success. However, a subsequent
procedure when she was 13
months old caused a bit of a scare. A doctor gave her too much sedation and
they almost lost her but tough little Emma bounced back with no side
effects. In addition to her CDH, Emma also has pectus excavatum, which
causes her chest to appear caved-in (due to abnormal growth of her ribs and
sternum). This will be repaired when Emma is in her teen years.

Emma still struggles to gain weight and needs the help of a feeding tube.
She is medically fragile and her immune system is compromised. Emma’s
future is unknown, as every individual born with a CDH is different. There
is a risk that she may re-herniate, have more difficulties with her bowels,
or develop scoliosis, but her parents stay positive and choose to focus on
what is best for their daughter.

Story Emily Harrison