Lifestyle & Human Interest

Baby Born with Heart Outside Chest Finally Released from Hospital After 14 Months


Miracles can and do happen to even the smallest of individuals, even when others don’t believe they will.

A 14-month old baby girl defied the odds after she was only given only a 10 percent chance of survival, according to Fox News.

The U.K.-born little girl, Vanellope Hope Wilkins, was born with a rare condition that caused her heart to grow outside of her body.

Doctors at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicester had only given her a small chance at survival after her birth, but this little girl showed that she literally had the heart to fight.

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Vanellope’s parents Noami and Dean Wilkins discovered she had a heart condition during their nine-week ultrasound appointment.

The condition, ectopia cordis, causes babies to be born with their hearts partially or completely exposed outside the body.

Babies that have this condition typically also have additional heart defects or abdominal wall defects that can cause more issues.

These defects are put into four different classifications, depending on the location of the heart. For Vanellope, it was a thoracic condition, which is the most common of these sorts of conditions.

Ectopia cordis affects one in 126,000 births, but no one knows the cause for the condition, according to Children’s Hospital Colorado.

In most cases, the condition causes babies to be stillborn or die in their first few days of being born. Others that do survive face extensive surgeries and lifelong care.

“When doctors lifted her out of my womb she was born with her arm caressing her heart,” mother Naomi Wilkins told The Sun. “I took that as a sign she was protecting herself.”

Naomi had Vanellope one month early by C-section. The little girl underwent her first surgery after only an hour of being born.

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The surgery was part of an effort to insert her heart back into her chest and to integrate a protective mesh over it. The hole in her chest was then covered with skin that came from her arm.

In May 2018, Vanellope was moved to a hospital where she could be closer to her family.

Vanellope’s team of doctors say they will now look for sternums for her chest.

And finally, after nearly 15 months of uncertainty, multiple operations and endless prayers, Vanellope has finally gone home from the hospital for good.

“After nearly 15months in hospital with ups and downs, on the 6th of February (2019) @ 12.30pm we finally finally FINALLY get to take our beautiful amazing princess home FOR GOOD ????” a post on the Vanellope Hope Wilkins Facebook pages says.

“(I)t’s been the worst yet the best time of our life. We’re the proudest parents you have ever come across. We’re soo grateful and just simply overwhelmed by the level of love and support throughout our incredible journey we have and still continue to receive. Thanku and we will continue to update you all with the progress of our amazing journey.”

The family is thankful to finally have their baby home, and is taking things one day at a time.

“It’s far from over but we will be traveling on the more normal part of our journey now,” Naomi Wilkins told Nottinghamshire Live.

“She’s adapted to home life really easily actually, she knows it’s her home so she has settled in really well.”

“Family is most important to us and she’s already made a special bond with her older brother,” Naomi told The Sun.

“To get our family life at home back, and having Vanellope included in that, it’s just so special. We’re looking forward to the future.”

We are glad that Vanellope is doing well and back with her family. This little girl is a fighter and has all the heart that is needed to push through her condition. We can’t wait to see what this little girl will do next!

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Dawn is a writer from Milwaukee who loves the art of crafting copy. She has experience in marketing and worked as editor-in-chief of a monthly B2B magazine where she honed her writing skills. No matter the topic or audience, she has a story to tell.
Dawn is a writer from Milwaukee who loves the art of crafting copy. She has previously worked in marketing and as as editor-in-chief of a monthly B2B magazine where she honed her writing skills. She enjoys the art of captivating readers and making them come back time and time again for more. No matter the topic or audience, she has a story to tell. Whether it’s an article, newsletter, news release or web content, she's done it.
BA, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
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