A baby girl born with her heart outside of her body received a huge miracle just in time for Thanksgiving, as she underwent life-saving surgery at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston.
Five-week-old Audrina Cardenas was born with one-third of her heart beating outside her body and lying on top of her stomach. The abnormality was discovered during a routine ultrasound during her mother Ashley Cardenas' pregnancy. And even though this condition is usually fatal, Ashley relied on her faith in God and chose to carry out the pregnancy and hope for the best.
She said, "I had to come with believing in Him, believing in faith that there is a reason she is here."
Well, obviously Ashley was right, because after a six-hour surgery where doctors reconstructed baby Audrina's chest to make room for her heart, it looks like she will go on to lead a happy and normal life down the road, even though she'll likely have to endure a few more surgeries.
Watch this video clip to hear more about little Audrina's life-saving operation, and to hear just how thankful her mother is for the amazing doctors who performed it. (A hankie or tissue is required before you hit play.)
I don't know about you, but my heart absolutely swelled with sympathy when I heard Ashley talk about all she's had to watch her baby girl go through. I'll never forget how relieved I was when my son was born healthy with no complications, so I can't even begin to imagine how difficult Ashley's birth experience was already knowing her child was not ok.
It took a huge amount of strength to carry out her pregnancy and bring her baby girl into the world all while knowing there was a good chance she wouldn't survive. I hope Ashley realizes how amazing she is for being able to get through a struggle like this.
And even though she's only a tiny baby, it's obvious that Audrina and her mother have an incredibly strong bond. My eyes welled up with tears near the end of that video when the baby looked up and stared into her mother's eyes -- almost as if to say, "It's ok, Mommy, I'm going to be just fine and I love you."
I can't think of a better thing to give thanks for than knowing your baby has been given a second chance at life, and I'll definitely be saying an extra prayer for Ashley and Audrina this Thanksgiving.
What would you have done if you knew your baby was going to be born with a condition like this?
Image via ABCNews