Heart surgery is serious at any age. Now imagine yourself as the mother of a 10-day-old baby girl facing this challenge.
Carleigh Ann Pitts was born in Montgomery in July 2015. For that first week, Carleigh Ann’s mother Emma Pitts watched over her newborn daughter confined to an incubator, struggling to breathe. She waited for answers, wanting to learn why her baby was so sick. When her condition worsened, Carleigh Ann was life-flighted from Montgomery to Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham.
Carleigh Ann was soon diagnosed with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return, or TAPVR. TAPVR is a rare congenital malformation in which all four pulmonary veins do not connect normally to the heart’s left atrium. Rather, the four pulmonary veins drain abnormally to the right atrium. Surgery is required to correct the condition. At just 10 days old, little Carleigh Ann underwent heart surgery.
“She was not getting oxygenated blood to her body, so taking her into a surgery like this was risky considering how sick as she was,” Emma said. “She made it through and surprised all the nurses and doctors with her recovery.”
Carleigh Ann spent a few more weeks at Children’s before she could finally visit home for the first time. The family celebrated Carleigh Ann’s homecoming just a few days past her one-month birthday.
“We thank everyone at Children’s for their passion and love for children and for giving our Carleigh Ann a chance at life,” Emma said.