A 3-month-old baby girl is recovering after having a life-saving procedure fewer than a dozen Texas infants undergo each year.
Olivia Solis, the daughter of a Dallas Independent School District trustee, had a heart transplant Monday. On Wednesday, doctors closed her chest, an indication that her new heart is working as it should and Olivia can begin her recovery.
"It was a roller coaster of emotions," Miguel Solis said about Monday's 10-hour process that included the four-hour surgery to remove her daughter's old heart and replace it with a donor heart.
"From receiving the news and being elated to recognizing that this could easily be the last day we have with her or the first of a set of many."
Olivia was born with a critical heart defect called aortic valve stenosis, which makes it hard for the heart to properly pump blood.
She has spent all but the first week of her life in intensive care.
On Monday, doctors performed the heart transplant, making Olivia the third baby in Texas this year to undergo the rare procedure.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, fewer than a dozen heart transplants are performed in children younger than one year old every year in Texas.
"Yesterday, they performed surgery to close her chest and you only do that if you feel very confident with the function of that heart. It's a huge deal with a huge milestone and we are looking to accomplishing many more milestones over the next month," Solis said.
The next month will be critical.
It's when the risk of organ rejection is highest, however, doctors said the odds are in Olivia's favor.
"Infants who get heart transplants seem to have a little bit more favorable outcome than other patients. Their rates of rejection are a bit lower and their survival is a good bit longer than most patients," Dr. David Sutcliffe, pediatric heart transplant cardiologist at UT Southwestern and Children's Health, said.
Over the next month, Solis expects his daughter will be able to breathe on her own and if all goes well, Olivia may be able to go home in six weeks.
It's one of many prayers shared by the Solis family as Olivia continues her fight.
They also pray for the family of the young organ donor and hope their story will encourage others to become organ donors.
"There is a family that in the darkest day made a selfless act that would breathe life into my child," Solis said. "It's something we will not forget moving forward."
The family updates Olivia's progress on their GoFundMe page.