DALLAS - Dallas school board member Miguel Solis’ newborn daughter is finally well enough to go home. She’s been hospitalized since she was born four months ago.
Just a few weeks after a successful heart transplant, 4-year-old Olivia Solis is finally back home on Tuesday after months in the hospital.
Olivia was born with a congenital heart defect and has spent most of her life in the NICU at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. At times, she was on life support and underwent open heart surgery.
A hospital room is all Olivia has ever known. Just a few days shy of being four months old, she finally got to feel the comfort of her home.
Tuesday was the first time Oliva got to be held by her dad in their living room. It was also the first time they stepped into the nursery that his mom, Jacqueline Nortman, painstakingly put together for her. They were moments they weren't sure they'd ever get.
“Life can change in a heartbeat,” Miguel said. “One day we could've been preparing ourselves to take the next step and the next day be back to square one.”
In her short life, Olivia has already been through open-heart surgery that lasted more than 8 hours and 16 days on life support, seizures, and strokes.
“There was a point very early in Olivia's life where we were not sure if she was gonna have a life,” Miguel said.
“I'm sure in the middle of the night when we're fighting over who gets up with her or who's changing that dirty diaper this time, I'm sure just the more experiences we have with her here in our home and in the room we prepared for her the more real it'll be,” Jacqueline said.
Olivia may still need another heart transplant at some point later in her life. There are many days of medicines and doctor visits ahead. But despite the milestones they have yet to reach, the family hopes to use their experience to inspire other families going through something similar.
“You have to have hope,” Miguel said. “You have to believe that in the darkest days that there is a brighter day ahead.”
The family is writing a children's book called "Olivia's New Heart" based on her story. The proceeds will go to the Heart Center at Children's Medical Center in Dallas. It should be ready for print and delivery in July.
The book can be pre-ordered here: https://www.oliviasbook.com/