Theodore Nelson came into the world with half a heart — and twice the fight.
The 6-month-old has spent his entire life in the hospital, but he’s holding on with everything he has. While Teddy’s strength inspires his parents, Michael and Alexandria, every day, his recent victory had them cheering out loud.
Teddy was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and underwent his first open-heart surgery just 15 minutes after Alexandria gave birth to him.
Thus began his uphill health battle. He’s faced several setbacks, including gallbladder issues, an enlarged liver, and a collapsed lung. While his family lives in Buffalo, New York, the little one hasn’t been anywhere outside UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
To make matters worse, when Teddy had his second surgery in November, he suffered a stroke. His family didn’t know what that would mean for his future and questioned if he’d ever reach the typical milestones for babies.
“We weren’t sure the connections were there in the brain to allow a smile to show on his face,” Alexandria told GMA. But then her baby boy stunned everyone, giving his mom a “huge glimmer of hope.”
Their miracle came on February 6 when, in front of his parents and his 4-year-old sister, Teddy smiled for the first time!
“Working towards the traditional developmental milestones with ‘half a heart’ is like climbing Mount Everest against every unfavorable condition that exists,” Alexandria wrote later. “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!”
Teddy still has a ways to go before he can head home, including a third surgery, but his parents have faith in that adorable grin.
Keep smiling, sweet boy! We’re all rooting for you!
See Teddy’s first smile in the video below, and share this story to support the tiny fighter.
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