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Heart Warrior Stories Brittney S.

My name is Brittney Salazar and I was pregnant with twin girls, which made it my 4th pregnancy with 2 surviving children. At 23 weeks at a normal anatomy scan; they saw a skipped heartbeat in baby b. After several appointments, we were told baby b had complete heart block, which was later determined that I had lupus and that had caused her heart defect. I was told she’d live a normal life and would need a pacemaker around 4. I felt peace. She and her sister were born on August 29, 2019. She was taken to a NICU that had no preparation for her or ever saw a baby with this condition. As her mom, the next day I noticed her grey complexion and that she wouldn’t open her eyes.

Hours later she suffered her first heart attack, her eyes finally opened but only to cry because she was being intubated. We were life-flighted to the children’s hospital. 24 hours after a C-section with her twin we made the drive while she rode in the plane alone. They performed open-heart surgery to externally pace her. Seeing her with an open chest was defeating. We came back the next day; and that’s when our world crashed, she suffered another heart attack. A Chaplin came in along with a social worker and a doctor–we were told that even if she made it- she wouldn’t have a normal life. She was placed on life support(ECMO) and to plan for people to see her in her last hours. She had several brain bleeds, kidney problems, and no brain movement. We had to plan her funeral all while holding her completely healthy sister.

But my girl, Beatriz. She had different plans, after a week in ECMO—she was improving. Brain bleeds we’re leaving, she was moving and responding, she would move when I laid her sister by her and cry for her. On day 14, they placed a permanent pacemaker in and closed her chest. We were told we might be home by Christmas. Once again, she had different plans. On October 9th, my girl came home. She was later hospitalized for the flu in January and almost lost that battle. She overcame it.

Here we are 17 months later and she is a walking miracle. We were told she may never walk, she walks. She may never talk. She screams and shouts. She is the center of attention. She was supposed to never be here but she is here. Not only here, but living the life she was meant to have. She’s a true miracle. She loves stuffed animals and loveys. It would be so amazing to have a lovey that represents her scars and journey. So she feels beautiful, always.

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