Three-month-old Audrina Cardenas is a survivor.
The infant, delivered on Oct. 15 with a rare genetic deformity called “ectopia cordis,” was born with part of her heart outside of her body. Following a successful surgery in November, Cardenas finally left the hospital on Wednesday.
At the time of her procedure, the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston released a statement explaining, “A multidisciplinary team of surgeons saved Audrina’s life during a miraculous six-hour, open-heart surgery where they reconstructed her chest cavity to make space for the one-third of her heart that was outside of her body.”
Cardenas’s mother Ashley told ABCNews.com that she knew about her daughter’s condition when she was 16 weeks pregnant.
“They gave me the option to terminate the pregnancy [or] continue with the pregnancy and do something called comfort care at the time of delivery, where instead of doing anything painful to her or do surgery, they let you spend as much time with her until she passes, or opt for a high-risk surgery to help repair the heart,” Ashley Cardenas said.
Although she’s been released from the hospital, Audrina will still be on oxygen and use a feeding tube, according to her mom, who spoke to HLN affiliate KTRK.
With Audrina wearing a pink chest shield made by doctors, Ashley said, “She doesn’t have the sternum. She doesn’t have anything over her heart besides the skin and a little muscle that they put over, so this is very important for her to wear. Especially for a car seat, the straps go right on her heart, and if she didn’t have anything hard, it would damage her heart.”