Aspen Alfred came into the world early weighing only 3 pounds 12 ounces. When she was two days old, she required immediate surgery to repair a hole in her intestines. While she was still intubated, her parents learned that Aspen also had four holes in her heart, under-developed lungs, vision and hearing impairments, a skeletal disorder and feeding difficulties.
“How could so many things be wrong with our beautiful precious daughter?” her mother, Ane, questioned.
Thankfully, Aspen was in the right hospital.
Aspen’s condition is known as Trisomy 18, a chromosomal abnormality caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. It occurs in approximately one in 6,000 live births, and 80% of those affected are female. The majority of those who have the syndrome die before birth.
As Aspen’s parents were meeting her for the first time, doctors were telling them that she would likely die in the coming days. “We were not ready to say good-bye,” Ane recalls. “Little did we know Aspen had her own plans: defying the poor prognosis she was given and writing her own story. She spent 137 days in the hospital at Texas Children’s during her first year. She is now 20 months old, and her life has been an adventure full of trials, triumphs, heartbreak and hope, love and joy. Our fragile baby has many medical needs, and we had a lot to learn to care for her. Thankfully Texas Children’s medical team has been with us to help every step of the way,” Ane said.
Aspen sees about a dozen specialists at Texas Children’s Hospital, and she continues to overcome impossible odds with each hurdle that comes her way. Today this bright-eyed toddler loves playing peek-a-boo, going to the zoo and being adored by her eight siblings!