Belton infant survives heart surgery; community rallies around her family

BELTON, Mo. -- Holding their 3-week-old daughter Remington in their arms while sitting in their living room was a dream for Brandon and Kayleigh Craft just three weeks ago.

"It’s pretty amazing finally having her here is, in a way, a miracle having her here in the same month," Brandon Craft, Remington's father, said.

"I wasn’t really expecting this. When we found out about the diagnosis I didn’t really know if she’d get to come home but it’s pretty awesome," Kayleigh Craft said.

Baby Remington was born with Hypoplastic Heart Syndrome, a condition that prevented the left side of her heart from developing. She underwent open-heart surgery at Children's Mercy on February 7, when she was 6 days old.

"We prepared ourselves in a way for the worst and hoped for the best. And she pulled through," Brandon said.

It was a difficult battle that brought friends, family, and their community together. People offered to watch their three older children while Brandon and Kayleigh spent weeks in the hospital, helped cover some of their expenses, and even dropped off meals.

"It was pretty awesome to have all of the support from total strangers even," Kayleigh said.

Remington's surgery was a success and her recovery went so well that she is now home with her brothers and sisters.

"Having everyone here was really emotional after living in a hospital for over a month. Finally being able to be home with all four of our kids now," Brandon said. "It feels pretty amazing. She is our miracle baby, only surviving with half a heart."

Although Remington's condition will be a life-long battle.

"I think she is just a survivor like me. I was a preemie too," Kayleigh said.

"She made us a lot stronger. She pulled not only a family together but an entire community," Brandon said.

Remington requires at least two more surgeries over the next two years. Her next surgery is scheduled for later this summer.

Brandon and Kayleigh Craft hope pregnant mothers will be sure to have their children's hearts checked during ultrasounds so heart defects can be detected early.