BUFFALO, N.Y. - A baby who was born with half of a heart just smiled at his parents for the very first time after going through his second open-heart surgery.
Theodore "Teddy" Nelson was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which was discovered when his mom, Alexandria Nelson of Buffalo, New York, was 26 weeks pregnant.
Teddy was born on Aug. 30, 2019. Just 15 minutes after birth, he had his first surgery. Little Teddy has been in the hospital ever since.
On Nov. 13, Teddy had to have his second open-heart surgery. Right around that time, his mother says Teddy suffered a stroke. Being hooked up to tubes and monitors was this little boy's life since being born. The Nelson family spent hours traveling back and forth from New York to UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Teddy is being treated.
On the night of Feb. 3, something magical happened: after 157 days, Teddy smiled for the very first time in his life.
"I will never forget it," his mother told FOX 35 News. "Best moment of our lives!"
Nelson and her husband captured the heartwarming moment and posted the video to Facebook where it has been viewed over 300,000 times.
Teddy, who is going on 7-months-old, will most likely be having his third open heart surgery next week. His mother is chronicling his journey on the Facebook page Falling Right Side Up.
"Working towards traditional developmental milestones with ‘half a heart’ is like climbing Mount Everest against every unfavorable condition that exists," Teddy's mother wrote on Facebook. "When Theodore first smiled before his six month birthday, we reached the highest peak and claimed victory! I jumped for joy, I cheered out loud, I cried happy tears, and gave a whole lot of thanks to God... all while proudly standing next to our baby on that mountaintop! 🏔💪🏼🧸 Go, Teddy, Go!"