Harri Stevens, 30, and Taylor Lahney, 27, welcomed their son Teddy in October last year and, apart from a slight heart murmur, the little boy appeared to be a perfectly healthy baby.
But 10 days after he was born, he began to run out of breath and was reluctant to feed.
Teddy was taken to North Tees University Hospital in Stockton, where scans revealed he had a serious and life-threatening case of aortic stenosis caused by an abnormally shaped aortic valve.
It meant he had to be rushed in an ambulance to Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, where he underwent emergency surgery to ‘inflate’ his aortic valve at just 11 days old.
Papa Harri said two surgeons traveled with the family to Newcastle in case Teddy suffered heart failure on the trip and needed to be operated on in the ambulance.
“We didn’t know there was anything wrong with him other than he had a heart murmur,” Harri said.
“When we brought him home, we spent a few days with him and then, gradually, he ran out of steam.”
Harri, from the West Park area of Hartlepool, added: “It was like getting hit by a bus when we first found out because as far as we knew we had this baby in perfect condition. health.
“Everything seemed fine, then we found out he had this very serious condition.”
After the first surgery, Teddy spent three days on a ventilator in intensive care and another seven days in hospital.
He also went through a strict diet routine to gain as much weight as possible ahead of his open-heart surgery, which took place on March 10.
In surgery earlier this month, his aortic valve was removed and a new one was reconstructed using his pericardium (the lining of his heart).
The procedure is very rare for a baby as small as Teddy and the youngster is due to be transferred to the ward after recovering from successful surgery in intensive care.
Harri, who works as a performance trainer, said: “He’s going to need more surgery in the years to come because they’ve put a valve built into his heart and eventually he’ll outgrow it.”
It is hoped that Teddy will soon be able to return home and find his big sister Harley, who is two years old.
Harri said: “He is always smiling. He’s not shy about telling you how he feels, sometimes he gets grumpy too, but most of the time he’s happy.
“He had a quiet few days after his surgery, but he’s definitely back to his smile now.”
While at Teddy’s bedside for the past few months, Harri and Taylor decided to give back and raise money for two charities, The Sick Children’s Trust and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).
With the help of Teddy’s uncle, Dan Lahney, 25, the couple set up a website, called Ted’s Trophyes, where people can enter a number of raffles and win different prizes.
Meet five generations of women from the same Hartlepool family