At only 3 days old, an echocardiogram revealed that Olivia had an abnormality in her heart, and she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. With Olivia’s future uncertain, physicians recommended she be transferred to the Heart Center at Children’s HealthSM. Olivia underwent a 10-hour open heart surgery at only 11-days-old. Slowly but surely, she showed signs of recovery and two weeks after surgery, Olivia’s mother Jaqueline was able to hold her baby girl for the first time since she was 2 days old. Just a couple weeks later, Olivia was ready to move out of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), but her system went into crisis and it was determined she would need a new heart. Olivia’s heart transplant was performed at Children’s Health, and at 12:07 a.m. on her 3-month birthday, Olivia’s new heart began to beat. Olivia continues to visit Children’s Health frequently for a variety of follow-up appointments and therapy. “Every single one of these people has become family,” says her father Miguel. “Without them, I’m not sure how we would have made it, but because of them, we now have the opportunity to share our story, and in some form and fashion, to give back.” The family has found a way to raise awareness of congenital heart defects and organ donation. They wrote a book, Olivia’s New Heart, to help explain the heart transplant process to children. Proceeds from the book will benefit the Heart Center to help support other families going through the same journey.
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