"January 8, 2014, is a day I'll never forget," writes Jenny Rodgers on the Texas Children's Hospital blog. That was the day that she and her husband, Philip, found out that their unborn son, Aiden, had only half a heart—a rare condition known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The diagnosis made at her 20-week prenatal visit meant that the left side of Aiden's heart would just stop growing, and when he exited the safety of Rodgers' womb, he wouldn't get the oxygen-filled blood he needed in his body, Fox News notes. "Philip and I left the doctor's office in complete shock and in fear for our unborn baby's life and future," she writes. But parental instinct quickly kicked in: The couple began educating themselves on the disorder, talking to medical personnel, and arranging for Jenny to move from their home in Benton, La., to Houston for the duration of the pregnancy and the birth at Texas Children's.
"All of this was hard to take in. Not just hard—gut wrenching," she writes. "My tiny precious baby would have his chest cut open in his first week of life. My loving son Noah [19 months at the time] would be away from his mommy a lot. … But we knew it's what had to be done to give Aiden a chance." Aiden, born on May 19, had the first of three necessary surgeries when he was just 4 days old. He recuperated well, and he was able to head to the Houston apartment at 6 weeks old. After a second surgery on Sept. 15, he got to go home to Louisiana in early October—an event Jenny calls an "amazing thing." Aiden is set to have one more critical operation between ages 2 and 3, Fox notes, and while Jenny says that he "will always only have half of a functioning heart … with the advancements in medicine, we pray that he will have a long and wonderful life." Read about their journey in Rodgers' blog post. (A tiny artificial heart kept a baby alive for 13 days until a real one was available.)