Emily Granados was 20 weeks pregnant with her third child when she found out something was wrong with his little heart.
She was referred to a pediatric cardiologist who confirmed her unborn baby boy, Adrien, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a severe congenital defect in which the left side of the heart does not form correctly, affecting blood flow.
"My husband and I immediately had so many emotions. We were worried that Adrien would need to be whisked away after birth, possibly to another hospital, without our even seeing him before his heart surgery," said Emily.
The Granados were referred to Nicklaus Children's Hospital's Fetal Care Center, a program that provides care to families who are expecting an infant prediagnosed with a complex medical condition. At the time, the Fetal Care Center had just opened its special delivery unit.
"I met with the Fetal Care Center's nurse navigators who arranged consultations with so many different doctors. Because of his heart condition, there were many different types of tests to rule out other complications. They made the process less scary and answered all of my (many) questions," she said.
Emily also met with Dr. Saima Aftab, a pediatric neonatologist at Nicklaus Children's, and a team of doctors to discuss the plan for Adrien's birth and immediate care. "After a very careful review of my medical history and previous births, we learned I was a candidate to deliver at the Fetal Care Center.
Adrien was the first baby born at Nicklaus Children's Hospital. While the hospital has been caring for critically ill newborns for 70 years, babies had to be transferred to the hospital for care before the 2019 founding of the Fetal Care Center's special delivery unit. Baby Adrien was delivered by an experienced team of obstetricians with the support of pediatric specialists, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons who would carefully monitor Adrien's health before and after birth.
Adrien spent several months at Nicklaus Children's, where he had a pediatric cardiac catheterization and surgery to place a feeding tube. Once he was strong enough, Adrien underwent open-heart surgery with Dr. Redmond Burke, Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at Nicklaus Children's. Dr. Burke rerouted the vessels in Adrien's heart to create a new pathway for the blood flow in his little heart.
"Dr. Burke was amazing. He is one of the reasons we decided to give birth at the Fetal Care Center. He comforted us in knowing that everything was going to be ok."
Emily says Adrien was a new baby after his heart surgery. She says she is forever grateful to Nicklaus Children's for giving Adrien a fighting chance. "It truly was quite an amazing experience bringing Adrien into the world with this one of a kind and loving team who have turned into family," said Emily.