David, Jeanna and Elaina Mueller

Elaina Mueller sits with her parents Dave and Jeanna outside their rural Hillsboro home on Tuesday night. The 5-year-old recently returned from a Cleveland hospital after undergoing a rare surgery in Ohio.

Elaina Mueller thought she bumped her head in the pool.

Dave and Jeanna Mueller’s daughter had been swimming a year ago in July and told her parents afterward that she had hit her head, although the 5-year-old didn’t seem too shaken up.

“She never cried. So we told her ‘Oh well, where did you hit it?’” recalls Dave, seated at the kitchen table with Jeanna inside the family’s farmhouse north of Hillsboro Tuesday evening.

“But then we looked closer and noticed kind of a marshmallow spot on her head.”

Elaina’s marshmallow spot turned out to be more serious than her parents imagined, setting off a series of doctor visits and surgeries that has taken the family to Ohio and back multiple times this summer.

Dave and Jeanna took Elaina to Sanford Hillsboro Medical Center initially to check out the soft spot, which happened to line up with a birthmark on the left side of their youngest daughter’s head.

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