Five-Month-Old Baby Girl Receives a 'Perfect Heart' in Life-Saving Transplant
One Florida woman's Mother's Day gift was truly once-in-a-lifetime.
Annie Torres, of Naples, had been desperately searching and waiting for a heart transplant for her five-month-old daughter Lucia Torres, who was born on December 8 with a heart condition, according to the Naples Daily News.
On May 14, she got the call her entire family had been waiting for.
"For us it was not coincidence," the baby's aunt, Liz Vargas, told the news outlet. "It was providence."
One day later, Lucia — who was surrounded by family who had traveled from across the state — received the "perfect heart" at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.
The baby girl has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, Naples Daily News reported, which is a disease where the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it harder for the heart to pump blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.
While the syndrome can cause many developmental issues, Lucia looks perfectly healthy.
According to the Naples Daily News, Annie — who also has a 3-year-old son — teaches kindergarten but has been staying with her baby girl thanks to many of her colleagues, who each donated two of their vacation days to her.
In April, 30-year-old Annie told The Western Journal that "we don't say ‘if,' we say ‘when' she gets a heart transplant. We have to have a positive mindset."
On Monday, an update was posted on the Facebook page for Lucia, Lulu's Braveheart Blog, revealing that the baby girl will soon be headed home.
"Today we had meetings with the transplant nurse and the social worker. Lucia's date of discharge is this Friday! Most likely [I feel] we will be here past that date because Lucia's having a hard time with withdrawal from her sedatives," it read. "She has been on high doses of morphine and precedex. She also has high blood pressure which they are trying to manage. She currently has an IV in her wrist and one in her neck. She also has her nasal cannula which has 20% oxygen flowing."
The family will need to visit the hospital twice a week for a month for post-discharge appointments, according to the update.
Because some of the baby's hospital expenses have not been covered by insurance, the St. Agnes Catholic Church in North Naples raised $65,000 for the family at an April 7 fundraiser.
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For now, Lucia's family is focused on the positives — including the removal of her intubation, which had prevented her from being vocal since birth.
"I can't wait to hear her cry," said Vargas.