After a problem-free pregnancy, mother of three Valerie Christy welcomed a seven-pound, five-ounce daughter, Ryleigh, into the world.
According to Liftable, when she was born, Ryleigh appeared to be a perfectly healthy baby girl.
But just 72 hours later, their terrifying nightmare began.
She was a healthy weight when she was born and nothing had shown up during my pregnancy so I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.
But then, her daughter’s health suddenly took a frightening turn for the worse. Christy said:
She was breathing so fast, her chest was going up and down, and she was taken into intensive care in the early hours of one morning.
The confused mother said that it “all happened so fast” she couldn’t understand what was going on.
Finally, the baffled doctors figured out what was happening. Christy was told Ryleigh was born with a ventricular septal defect, and multiple atrial septal defects.
According to the Mirror, the atrial septal defects cause holes to form in the wall that separates the heart’s lower chambers. The small holes normally don’t need medical treatments, and heart problems can be common in newborns. That wasn’t the case for Christy’s baby, though, as Ryleigh’s diagnosis was much more extreme.
She had five holes in her heart, which caused leaking blood to get pumped into her lungs. This put the infant at risk for a stroke or a heart attack.
The Mirror reported the mother was heartbroken:
I wasn’t prepared for seeing my tiny baby lying there covered in wires and tubes. It was devastating seeing her fighting for life.
At 11 weeks old, Ryleigh had to have surgery to repair the holes in her heart. Doctors found a way to fix the holes in Ryleigh’s heart using a surprising material: Gore-Tex.
Gore-Tex is a fabric used to create products, including clothing, for weather protection. The material is described as a membrane placed between high-performance lining and outer textiles.
Gore-Tex has also been used for other medical procedures before, including vascular grafts, tissue reinforcement and aneurysm repairs. This time, the fabric was used to patch the holes in an infant’s heart.
The structure and elasticity of the material allows the patient’s own cells to grow in and around it.
Thanks to the fabric, Ryleigh is on her way to healing. She has been fitted for a pacemaker, which will help in the healing process.
Ryleigh has scars, but her mother happily looks at them:
I see them as scars to be proud of, as it shows how strong she has been and how far she has come to survive.
Christy plans to create matching scars for herself by having them tattooed on her body.