Athens newborn recovering after heart surgery

Kylie and Hadley Hutson returned to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston's transplant unit for a checkup.

It's hard to believe it's been just two weeks, since Hadley, just hours old, was being rushed by a critical care transport team from Piedmont Athens Regional where Hadley was born January 29, to Children's Heatlhcare of Atlanta at Egleston for newborn heart surgery.

"It's a lot better being able to come back with her in your arms, you know," says Kylie Hutson. "It was a week that we were back and forth with no baby and no car-seat."

It's been a long road.

Ben and Kylie met at Clemson University, got married and moved to Athens. Then, they quickly learned Kylie was pregnant.

At her 20 week checkup, Kylie's OB-GYN found a problem with her baby's heart that would require surgery within days of her birth.

"That's the thing," the mother says. "It was four months of knowing. And four months of trying to plan as much as you can, when it's impossible."

But thanks to fetal echocardiography, Kylie's doctors were able detect holes between the two lower chambers of her baby's heart, and a more serious problem. She had a narrowing in the arch of her aorta, the main artery feeding blood out of her heart.

Children's Healthcare of Atlanta pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Kirk Kanter says because they knew about the problem months ahead of time, they were able to come up with a plan to repair Hadley's heart defects.

"If we had not known about that, early on she would have looked pretty normal, but within a day or two, she would have become very sick, and could have become catastrophically sick," Dr. Kanter says.

Instead, doctors at Piedmont Athens Regional started Hadley immediately on a medication to keep a key artery open that would normally have closed when she was born.

And the Hintons had time to brace for the surgery ahead at Children's.

"We figured we'd be here a couple of weeks," Kylie Hutson says. "And, within 12 hours, she was at the hospital. Within 24, she's already had surgery. It was amazing."

The next morning after her 4-hour procedure, a 3-day old Hadley opened her eyes in the Children's cardiac ICU.

Her surgery was over.

Today, Hadley's heart is functioning well.

Dr. Kanter says she looks good, just as he expected. She'll need one more surgery in about 6 to 9 months.

For now, Hadley is feeding, and sleeping normally and she's safe in her mother's arms.

"It's emotional," says Kylie Hutson, looking down at her baby. "Had we not known, maybe this never would have happened. Had we not known, had things gotten worse, maybe we would never have had the opportunity to hold her. So holding her and knowing that she's here and she's healthy and she's safe is amazing, all I can ask for."

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