Audrina Cardenas was born with one third of her heart outside of her body, and wasn’t expected to live past the first three days of life. Doctors in Texas miraculously saved her life by creating custom protective plates to put outside her chest and then inserting her heart back inside her tiny body. While most children do not survive this kind of intense surgery, the little girl pushed through. Her mother could only say that she felt “blessed” for such an outcome.

“I was told that it is a very rare condition and that the survival rates are really low and that if she did survive they don’t know what kind of life she will have,” said Audrina’s mother, Ashley Cardenas, who learned of the baby’s condition when she was 16 weeks pregnant. “They gave me the option to terminate the pregnancy, 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.”

“As soon as I made my decision to continue with the pregnancy, the physicians in Midland referred me to Texas Children’s Hospital where a team of miracle workers provided the specialized treatment and care my baby and I both needed,” she said.

Despite the many medical obstacles Audrina continued to face, she kept fighting and pulled through. She is now over one years old. She’s a happy and thriving toddler that loves to play in the sun, run around with her toys, and get hugs from her mom. She will soon be getting another surgery to help create a rib cage that will hold her tiny heart in place better.

“If it wasn’t for them and the grace of God, she wouldn’t be here,” Ashley said.

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