AUSTIN (KXAN) — A baby girl finally went home this week after undergoing two open heart surgeries and spending 139 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, at Dell Children’s.
Le’Lani was born 12 weeks early, weighing only 1 pound and 3 ounces. Her mother, Jasmine Matthews, of Mexia, Texas, suffered from a life-threatening case of preeclampsia that required her to deliver early, according to Dell Children’s.
Le’Lani was also diagnosed in utero with a rare congenital heart defect. Doctors said the arteries in her heart were in the wrong position, a condition known as transposition of the great arteries. It causes the arteries to pump backward, which deprived Le’Lani of sufficient oxygenated blood.
She went through two open heart surgeries while at Dell Children’s. The first one was when she was just one week old and barely over a pound in weight.
Dell Children’s has a Level IV NICU for babies born early or with a health condition. At the Dell Children’s Center Cardiac Fetal Program, babies with heart problems are diagnosed as early as 12 weeks in utero, making it a national leader in treating the most challenging congenital anomalies.
The doctors and nurses who took care of Le’Lani were able to send her home Monday with a bubble parade.
Matthews said if it weren’t for the doctors at Dell Children’s, Le’Lani wouldn’t be here today.
“Everything’s just good now,” Matthews said. “My family is complete.”