Infant now 'playing with the angels'


POSTED: Wednesday, February 04, 2009

She lived just three weeks, but Jianni Marie Kiana Mata's struggle to overcome multiple physical problems touched her family, friends and strangers.

Daughter of Justin and Stevie Mata of Ewa Beach, the baby died Monday at 7:05 p.m. at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.

In a letter posted to their daughter in www.caringbridge.org yesterday, Jianni's parents and 6-year-old brother Jayden wrote:

“;You will always be in our hearts. You are our little angel. We will never forget you. We have been so blessed to be able to love you and been loved by you. ... You are in a better place now and even though mommy and daddy miss you more than we could ever express, we know you are no longer suffering.

“;You play with the angels and we know you are watching over us as we think of you every second. We will always love you, our aniani girl.”;

Jianni, born Jan. 11 at the Queen's Medical Center, was transferred that night to Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children and diagnosed with a hole in her heart and an abnormally narrow aorta, the large blood vessel pumping blood from the heart to the body.

On Jan. 13, she was flown with a medical team to the San Diego facility, which provides advanced care in pediatric cardiac cases.

“;This whole three weeks were so difficult,”; said her grandmother, Diana Mara, referring to the various medical procedures and many hours of corrective surgery performed on the baby. “;It's something she would have had to go through over and over again (for replacement of a mechanical valve) as she grew up.”;

Jianni's parents reported in a journal on http://www.caringbridge.org at the hospital Friday that the flow on the baby's life support machine had to be turned up because her blood pressure was fluctuating and her heart rhythm was not consistent.

Doctors found more bleeding in her lungs and did more blood cultures because of a possible infection. She was given four different antibiotics for suspected pneumonia.

The family was deluged with offers of help after a Star-Bulletin story Friday about her fight for life and her father's furlough from his job as a journeyman tile setter.

“;It's amazing to see in this economic time people give who you don't even know,”; Mara said. “;It taught me a lot in three weeks about what's important that you tend to forget.”;

In their Web posting, the parents made a plea to the “;Heavenly Father,”; asking: “;Please watch over our daughter as she is now with you in heaven playing with the angels. Please cuddle her in your arms and let her feel the love that we have for her. Please give us comfort and peace knowing she is in a better place.”;

Despite Jianni's critical condition, she gave her parents a lifelong memory on her 2-week-old birthday Jan. 26.

She was “;very alert with her eyes wide open and looking around,”; her parents wrote. “;She's been wiggling her toes and moving her hands (and) when you put your finger in her hand she holds onto it and squeezes.”;