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Ingleside baby born with half a heart in Houston hospital

Ingleside baby born with half a heart in Houston hospital
Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-03 18:12:53-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Congratulations are in order for the Rivera family in Ingleside. This weekend, they welcomed a new baby boy to their family.

Juan Rivera Jr. was born Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 12:50 p.m.

KRIS 6 News spoke to the family over a month ago when doctors were hoping for a successful birth.

Docotrs discovered that Juan Jr. had a congenital heart defect when the parents, Alexis and her husband, Juan went to their 20-week check up.

“They (told us) couldn’t find the fourth chamber of his heart,” Juan said

This meant that Juan Jr. only has half a heart. This condition is also known as Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which is a defect that develops during pregnancy. It's so rare that at least 1,025 babies are born with it each year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In mid-February, after going through several tests and exams, doctors advised the Rivera family that Alexis may have to give birth at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. So the family traveled there and has been receiving treatment ever since.

The Rivera family says doctors wanted to induce labor for Alexis, but they didn't need to. Instead, baby Juan was ready to come.

"We were so worried," Alexis said. "We thought 'How is he going to come out? Are we going to hear his cry or are we not going to hear his cry?' Thank God we did hear his cry and he didn't stop. I was so happy to see that he was breathing okay. He was crying and that's wonderful to hear when you're so worried. It was a lot of nerves."

Now, at 9 pounds, 8 ounces, Juan Jr. is came just a tad bit early, but seems to be ready to take on the world.

"We are just so grateful," Alexis said. "We're happy because now we're able to see him, touch him and hear him. That's what means the most to us. We'll deal with everything later when it comes."

Alexis and baby Juan will stay at the hospital in Houston for the next six months while doctors run tests and treat him. Juan Sr., will head back to Ingleside later this week to go to work and take care of their other three children.

"We plan on bringing the other kids up to Houston to see their little brother soon," Juan said. "They are really excited to see him. We've all been hoping for the best."

If you'd like to help the Rivera family, they've set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical and travel expenses.

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