LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Adonis Baez has gone through three heart surgeries, all before his first birthday.
One of those surgeries was while he was still in the womb. FOX5 first met Adonis and his family in November.
At almost nine months old, Adonis knows his name.
“He loves himself, he loves the mirror,” his mother Danielle Turpin said.
And he already has a lot to say.
“You want to talk? You want to tell the story? You were there,” she said to her son.
Adonis was there. But he probably won’t remember what happened.
“They noticed something was off and they wouldn't tell us what it was,” Danielle said in November.
Just months into the pregnancy, Danielle and Wilson Baez found out their son only had half a heart.
“There is zero chance at 26 weeks, this baby could be delivered with this problem and survive,” OBGYN surgeon Dr. Joseph Adashek said.
Known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the severe condition affects normal blood flow through the heart.
“He did have this chamber up here formed, but it was also small,” pediatric cardiologist Dr. John Alexander said.
Worsening his case, a wall in his heart restricted blood returning from his lungs.
“That caused the pressure in this chamber to be very, very high,” Dr. Alexander said.
Last year, he was the one tasked with telling Danielle and Wilson the news.
“I remember that day as well clearly,” Dr. Alexander said. “I felt like I’m shattering their world pretty much. But out of that shattering, there’s always hope that we can bring into the picture.”
That hope came in the form of a first-of-its-kind surgery.
It took a team of Las Vegas doctors to insert a stent into Adonis’s heart, just the size of a thumbnail, while he was still in the womb.
“Everything that day was in perfect position,” Dr. Alexander said. “Adonis, even in utero had his chest to the right in proper position for us to be able to guide the needle right into the perfect position.”
When FOX5 first met Adonis’s parents, they were just happy their son was okay.
“For us to keep him and know that he has this, it doesn’t matter,” Danielle said in November.
From birth, Adonis was rushed to the operating room for the first of three more procedures to repair his heart.
Nearly nine months later, Adonis is recovering from yet another surgery.
Weighing 15 pounds and 6 ounces, Adonis is starting to sit up on his own. His teeth are coming in and he’s curious about everything in sight.
Danielle and Wilson bring Adonis in to see Dr. Alexander and his team once a week.
But they said these visits are less like check-ups and more like catching up with dear friends.
“It’s legitimately a family,” Danielle said.
An expert on the human heart, Dr. Alexander said he’s never seen a heart like this.
“To think he had a chance not to even make it out of utero, it’s astonishing to me to see him every time,” nurse Mia Rios said. “It’s like watching a miracle grow.”
“Do I want him to be proud of what he has, of course,” Danielle said. “I don’t ever want him to be ashamed of his scar.”
Adonis has one more surgery, closer to when he’s three.
“I just love him so much, I could cry,” Danielle said.
Until then, these proud parents are soaking in every second with their son who was a heart of hope.
“He’s meant to be with us, he’s tested us but it’s made us grow as people,” Danielle said.
Danielle and Wilson are already getting involved in the community, trying to raise awareness of childhood heart defects.
They recently took part in the Children’s Heart Foundation Walk with the Heart of a Child, in February.
Adonis’s first birthday is in August 2019.