Caitlin Veitz never takes for granted just how special her daughter Kieran is. “She’s laid back, happy, wonderful,” Caitlin says.
The circumstances around her birth, however, were not as serene.
At her 20-week ultrasound, Caitlin learned her baby's heart was not where it was supposed to be and that it had developed outside of the chest wall. The condition, called ectopia cordis, is "one of the, if not the, most rare congenital heart defects,” according to Joseph Dearani, M.D., a Mayo Clinic pediatric cardiac surgeon.
“We didn’t have any idea that anything like that could happen," says Caitlin. "It was scary. The odds were stacked against her.”