PHOTO: Baby Boy Who Had 2 Open Heart Surgeries Smiles for the First Time

A baby boy born with only half a heart was caught on camera smiling for the first time after his second open heart surgery.

Theodore “Teddy” Nelson has spent all 185 days of his life in the hospital and had his second open heart surgery on November 15, but on February 6, he cracked a smile for his parents.

“Around the second open heart surgery he suffered a stroke,” Teddy’s mom Alexandria Nelson of Buffalo, New York, told Good Morning America. “We weren’t sure the connections were there in the brain to allow a smile to show on his face. It really gave a huge glimmer of hope for the future that he’s able to overcome these obstacles.”

Teddy was born with a congenital defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Doctors performed their first surgery on Teddy 15 minutes after he was born on August 30, 2019.

The Nelson family travels from New York to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where Teddy is receiving medical treatment.

Nelson and her husband Michael caught the moment Teddy smiled for the first time and videotaped it. The video went viral after being shared by ABC sister station WBMA, receiving at least 325,000 views.

Teddy will need to undergo a third surgery in the coming weeks, but Nelson said she is optimistic she will able to bring Teddy home for the first time.

“I always say, ‘Theodore’s half a heart produces twice the love,'”she said.

Teddy is not the only baby born with a heart defect that had been caught on camera smiling for the first time. A 13-week-old boy who underwent a heart transplant procedure because he was born with half of a heart smiled for the very first time in November 2017.


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