On Aug. 21, 2016, Ramsey Grace “Gracie” Morris received her miracle. At just 13 weeks old in 2015, Gracie was diagnosed with biliary atresia – a blockage in the tubes or ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. The congenital condition occurs when the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not develop normally, and can lead to liver damage and cirrhosis of the liver if untreated.
All seemed well when Joe and Gabbie Morris brought their newborn daughter home from the hospital. When Gracie was about 4 weeks old, they noticed yellowing of her eyes, or jaundice, and sought advice from their pediatrician. More sunlight exposure was recommended, then bloodwork results showed elevated liver levels. The Morrises were referred to Children’s of Alabama for additional tests that revealed Gracie’s bile ducts were not developed normally. She had surgery to remove a piece of her small intestine and a choledochal cyst – a congenital anomaly of the duct that transports bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.
“We were admitted right away. The doctors explained everything to us and what to expect,” Gabbie recalls. “They told us Gracie would be monitored in clinic every two weeks and could be eligible for a liver transplant down the road. We went home with a bunch of new medicines and a game plan.”
Despite these efforts, Gracie experienced poor weight gain and was still jaundiced. She developed cholangitis – an inflammation of the bile duct system – and began liver transplant evaluation in December 2015. Gracie grew weaker throughout 2016 and the Morrises had their biggest scare when Gracie’s ammonia levels rose.
“A week after that, we got the call for the transplant,” Gabbie said. “We were in shock because it was a really big call. It was a big deal.”
“We walked her down to surgery and stayed with her until the team got ready to put her to sleep,” Gabbie said. “When we returned to the waiting area, a calm came over us because we knew they were going to take care of Gracie. They always have.”
The transplant was a success and the change in Gracie was immediate.
“It was amazing because her eyes were so yellow before. Her skin changed before our eyes,” Gabbie said. “She really thrived.”
After a month’s stay in the hospital, Gracie was discharged and has since grown in size and personality.
“She’s the boss of everybody,” Gabbie said, laughing. “She’s outgoing and she’s girly. She loves makeup, nails and anything princess, and she loves to sing and dance and perform. She’s very dramatic!”
Gabbie said her daughter’s journey is nothing short of the miracle made possible by faith and the caring team of doctors and staff at Children’s of Alabama.
“God works through everybody at Children’s of Alabama and it’s been a blessing to us,” Gabbie said. “They really feel like part of the family and I can’t sing their praises enough. They made his journey a lot less scary.”