West Michigan Mom Spreading Awareness About Congenital Heart Defects

Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-12 09:29:38-05

deannaGRAND RAPIDS, Mich., (Feb. 11, 2014) – It’s congenital heart defect awareness week, and a West Michigan mother is making it her mission to spread awareness after losing her daughter just weeks after being born.

Researchers say one in 110 babies are born with a congenital heart defect; it’s a number all too real for Kim Baker of Grand Rapids.

Baker’s journey started back in January 2013 when she found out she was pregnant and soon after her first ultrasound learned the left side of the baby’s heart was severely under-developed.

Kim and her husband spent the next several months, meeting with doctors and getting as prepared as they could but after their daughter, Penelope, was born, the struggle continued.

“She had a number of other heart defects as her story went on she had several other issues as well,” said Baker.

Penelope had open heart surgery at just four days old and had to be opened up three other times in the 36 hours that followed.

“There were a lot of ups and downs just before she died we got to put clothes on her for the first time and they had started talking about possibly sending her home in the future.”

But at just 38 days old things took a turn for the worse as Kim and her husband watched Penelope take her last breathes. Kim says she found a sense of comfort in the organization ‘Mended Little Hearts of West Michigan’ providing support for families and ever since then she has been working alongside them.

Kim says she just wanted to make something good out of Penelope’s life and wanted to pass on the support to other families. She says Penelope taught her what it was like to fight and a good lesson about life and she just wants other families to know they aren’t alone.

For more information on Mended Little Hearts of West Michigan: