6-day-old Mesa baby gets heart transplant in Phoenix – AZCentral

Dianna M. Náñez, The Republic | azcentral.com 1:58 p.m. MST February 11, 2015

Baby Oliver was six days old and seven weeks premature when doctors gave him a new heart.

(Photo: Nick Oza/The Republic)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Parents were warned their baby might be born stillborn

Baby Oliver was six days old and seven weeks premature when doctors gave him a new heart

One month after his heart transplant, baby Oliver is slowly recovering

Chris Crawford reached his hand to the blanket that covered his premature son, carefully avoiding the tubing and wiring. Oliver rested his tiny pink fingers on his father’s forefinger and his eyes flickered for a moment.

Small moments like this are miraculous milestones for parents who were warned time and again that their baby may not live.

“We kept saying if we just get to hold him for one minute. That’s all we ask. Just one minute with our son,” said Caylyn Otto, Oliver’s mom Monday from his dimly lit hospital room. “Every minute more we get is a blessing.”

Caylyn and Chris believe their baby has been fighting for his life since before he was born on Jan. 5.

Caylyn was 20 weeks pregnant when doctors first noticed during a prenatal exam that something wasn’t right with Oliver’s heart.

He was born premature at 33 weeks. He was six days old when he underwent a heart transplant at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Hospital officials believe Oliver is the youngest heart recipient in the nation.

Caylyn and Chris, of Mesa, prayed for their baby’s life while he was in surgery. They watched the clock. They checked their phone for text messages the hospital sent to update them.

“We made an incision,” Caylyn recalled one text saying.

The wait was agonizing.

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