Meet the miracle baby who’s defied all doctors’ odds
LOOKING at her full head of hair, cute bunny slippers and content smile, it's hard to imagine that underneath little Haddie's knitted sweater is a big, long scar - a painful reminder of just how close her parents came to never meeting their baby girl.
Brooke and Andrew Filisetti found out at just 12 weeks their baby's heart wasn't growing properly.
Doctors didn't think it would grow at all, with some even suggesting the Glenorchy couple terminate their pregnancy for fear the baby wouldn't make it to full term.
"But Haddie had a mind of her own," Mrs Filisetti said tearfully.
At 30 weeks, the couple flew to Melbourne with a referral from their Hobart obstetrician, forewarning them that their baby would need immediate care when she was born.
Although Haddie's heart was developing, it wasn't strong and when Mrs Filisetti went into labour, Haddie had to be delivered via an emergency caesarean as her heart wasn't coping.
"Within the first two hours, she had to be transported straight to the children's hospital and that was such a tough time, I didn't get to see her," Mrs Filisetti recalled.
At just three days old, Haddie had to have open heart surgery.
Surgeons weren't sure if the left ventricle of Haddie's heart could be saved, but they performed repairs to help her narrow aorta grow bigger.
"She did really, really well," Mrs Filisetti said.
"Doctors were quite surprised, because her diagnosis was looking like it would be hypoplastic left heart syndrome meaning she'd be a 'half a heart baby'."
But a few weeks later, her aortic valve wasn't coping under the pressure so at five weeks old, Haddie had her second open heart surgery of her short life.
"She's been a little warrior and had fast turnarounds, no infections or further complications and she's very placid considering she gets poked and prodded every hour," Mrs Filisetti said.
"She's learned how to smile now so she's taking everything in and you wouldn't know she's gone through so much in her first seven weeks of life than most of us ever would.
"We didn't think she'd be with us for this long. It's a miracle."
Speaking with The Mercury yesterday, Haddie had just been discharged from the children's hospital, with her parents just waiting on one more check-up in a few weeks' time to get the all clear to return home to Tasmania.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Filisettis have been separated from their family in Tasmania, but says the care team at the children's hospital had gone above and beyond.
"We're hoping in a few weeks we can bring her home and she can sleep in her own nursery," Mrs Filisetti said.
"I've learned to take each day as it comes and while you can't allow yourself to be too excited for the future, you can still take the good things as they happen.
"I also take what the doctors say as knowledge rather than emotion … yes, later down the track she may need a heart transplant or a pacemaker but we're not there yet.
"We just have to focus on our little girl now; that's how we can get through it."
Originally published as Meet Tassie's miracle baby who's defied all doctors' odds