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Kaylee, 9 months

Tri-Cities | Services: Children's Hospital Foundation Heart Center

Mending a Tiny Heart

When she was five months old, Kaylee Wade weighed just nine pounds and was in such serious heart failure that she stopped growing because her body didn’t have enough energy to do something as simple as eating. Kaylee was born with a large ventricular septal defect, a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers of the heart, and specialists in the Children’s Hospital Foundation Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU told her family that she would need open heart surgery to repair the defect.

Kaylee’s mom, Stephanie, remembers waiting in the hospital during the nine hour surgery. “It was the longest day,” she says, “but if it weren’t for the heart surgeon and his team, I don’t think I’d still have Kaylee. They did everything she needed.”

The Heart Center team prepared Stephanie for the fact that Kaylee would likely be in recovery at the hospital for ten days after surgery, but Kaylee surprised everyone by going home on the fifth day—just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Today, Kaylee has doubled her weight since her surgery and has caught up with all of her developmental milestones. She loves eating bananas and peaches and crawling around after her three older brothers. “She’s been a very happy baby since the day she was born, even with everything she’s been through,” Stephanie remembers. “I’m so proud of her for just doing everything babies her age are supposed to do.”

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