WAUWATOSA, Wis. - She is just 3 months old but in the battle of her life. The baby girl who is the daughter of first responders has a rare heart defect and will soon travel across the country for surgery.
"She’s perfect," said Alexa Steinbach, mother. "We wouldn’t have it any other way."
Elsie Steinbach has changed the world around her.
"For a baby that has nothing to be too happy about right now with all of her stuff going on, she is a very happy baby," said Steinbach.
Her smile beams across her chubby face despite all that she's been through. The baby girl came into the world already battling. She was born with 22q chromosome deletion which has caused a rare heart defect.
"Essentially, she was born without a pulmonary artery," said Steinbach.
She's been at Children's Wisconsin since she was born in December. Her parents, who are both first responders, have been by her side.
"She’s a very wonderful baby and a great blessing to my wife and I," said Tim Steinbach, father.
Soon, Elsie will leave Children's Wisconsin, traveling across the country to California for surgery at Stanford University to fix her tiny heart.
"This is life and death for her," said Alexa Steinbach.
Friends and family have been raising money to help pay for mounting medical expenses and showing support during this tough time.
"We’ve been pretty overwhelmed in the best way possible by the way the community has rallied around our family," said Alexa Steinbach.
Little Elsie may be missing a piece of her heart, but the love she is surrounded by is making it whole.
"We take it a day at a time," said Alexa Steinbach. "Every day is a challenge, but we’re getting through."
Elsie could be in California for some time. When she returns to Wisconsin, she will continue to receive care at Children's Wisconsin before eventually heading home. She will need lifelong support.