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‘Miracle’ baby survives being born with heart outside her chest.

Vanellope Hope is a true Christmas miracle. Doctors told new parents Naomi Findley and Dean Wilkins their baby Vanellope had almost no chance of survival because of an extremely rare condition that caused her to be born with her heart outside of her chest. But the Nottinghamshire parents ignored the doctor’s advice to terminate their...
Time: 14:15     Date: 13.12.2017
US Living News: ‘Miracle’ baby survives being born with heart outside her chest. NY Post 24 - US News

Doctors told new parents Naomi Findley and Dean Wilkins their baby Vanellope had almost no chance of survival because of an extremely rare condition that caused her to be born with her heart outside of her chest.

But the Nottinghamshire parents ignored the doctor’s advice to terminate their daughter — originally due on Christmas Eve but born prematurely by caesarean on Nov. 22. She’s believed to be the first baby ever in the UK to not to die from the debilitating condition, The Telegraph reported.

Doctor’s told the parents the first ten minutes of Vanellope’s life on earth would be the most crucial.

“Both Naomi and I were holding our breath waiting for her to take her first breath; we didn’t dare breath until she took her first breath,” Wilkins, 43, said.

“When she cried, we cried. I felt hopeless and just held onto Naomi and was staring into her eyes praying that it was all going to be ok… twenty minutes went by and she was still shouting her head off — it made us so joyful and teary.”

When the parent’s got the news nine weeks into Findley’s pregnancy, their “whole world just fell to bits.”

“We were told that our best bet was to terminate,” Wilkins said.

Naomi Findlay and Dean Wilkins with their daughter, three-week-old Vanellope Hope WilkinsAP

Baby Vanellope was discovered to have ectopia cordis, a condition where the heart is abnormally located either partially or totally outside of the chest. Babies born with this condition generally have less than a 10 percent chance of survival.

But the parent’s perservered, not willing to take no for an answer.

“All the way through it, it was ‘the chances of survival are next to none, the only option is to terminate, we can offer counseling’ and things like that,” Findley, already a mother of two, said of the experience.

“In the end I just said that termination is not an option for me, if it was to happen naturally then so be it.”

Within an hour of Vanellope’s birth, a team of 50 staff swooped in to carry out the first of three operations, over several weeks, to put the baby’s heart back into her chest, and give her a chance to live.

The procedures worked — special lines were inserted into her umbilical cord to give fluid and medication to support her heart. Doctors watched as the chest gradually opened to create more space for the heart to fit back in.

After more operations, in two weeks the heart naturally made its way back into the chest following gravity.

Surgeons needed to use a mesh to protect her heart because the baby did not have ribs or a sternum. While her organs fight for space in her chest, Vanellope is still hanging on, attached to a ventilation machine.

“The moment she was born I realized that we had made the right decision. We know this is going to be a roller coaster and have started to prepare ourselves for the difficult times ahead, but we needed to give her a chance, and the team here have done that,” Wilkins said.

Findlay said the couple named their child after a character in the Disney film, “Wreck It Ralph.”

“Vanellope in the film is so stubborn and she turns into a princess at the end so it was so fitting.”

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