McKinnley was born eight weeks early and diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, an incredibly complex heart defect. At only two hours old, she underwent her first procedure to stabilize her heart. Bonding with her mother in the above photo, McKinnley is assisted by feeding and breathing tubes. To survive, she needed another surgery. But weighing less than 3 pounds, McKinnley would first have to grow stronger and put on weight.
Ounce by ounce, McKinnley grew. In the above photo, she is two months old and held by her father just before she undergoes a nine-hour open heart surgery to restore her aorta and pulmonary artery connections. The wires on McKinnley’s head are in place to monitor for seizures, which is standard practice for babies undergoing heart surgery.
“I made it!” McKinnley tells the world just 24 days after coming through her complex surgery with flying colors. Her healing and growing continues with the help of multiple specialists in neonatology, critical care, pediatric cardiology, maternal fetal medicine and others.
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To read more stories about and view photos of other children like McKinnley, visit the Children’s Hospitals Photo Exhibit