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Florida Baby To Spend Christmas At Home After Heart Transplant

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A sweet little baby boy was cradled in his mother's arms waving to the doctors and nurses who've cared for him for the past eight months.

His mother was all smiles as she leaves Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital knowing she'll get to spend Christmas at home with her son instead of in a hospital room.

"I'm overwhelmed with happiness. It's a little scary, obviously. This is a journey...this is a chapter 2 as I look at it," said mother Kristen Bracken.

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It was in April that at 3 months old, little Kaiden's mother rushed him to the hospital after noticing something off with his breathing.

"You think you have a health son, there's nothing wrong with him and you're told by doctors who grab your hand and say, 'We'll do everything we can, but we can't guarantee his life,'" said Bracken.

Doctors at Joe DiMaggio Children's discovered a problem with his heart.

They implanted a mechanical device to help little Kaiden's heart and widened his criteria for him to accept a heart outside of his blood type and it was a matter of waiting.

"For Christmas, we were really hopeful that he would get to go home but we knew if that were to be possible, the call needed to come soon," said Transplant Coordinator Dr. Christine Mashburn.

Crossing blood barriers for heart transplant is a first for the pediatric team and last week the surgery was a success.

"It really is a remarkable thing that here we have a human who's now going to be tolerant to this transplanted heart that by classical standards should be rejected," said Cardiologist Dr. Maryanne Chrisant.

His mother was grateful for the second chance Kaiden's received.

"There's all sort of medication that are given for the rest of his life to sustain him and make sure that he doesn't go into rejection," said Bracken.


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