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Special Car Seat Helps Texas Baby Go Home From NICU

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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Audrey Carreno is just 53 days old. She’s been in the NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth since she was born.

“Being here is hard not knowing when we we’re going to go home,” her mother, Juliet Martinez, said as she wiped tears from her eyes. “She is so sweet and she’s so strong. She has been through so much – blood transfusions – and all that she’s such a happy baby.”

Audrey has a rare medical condition called Omphalocele. She was born with her liver, gallbladder, stomach and intestines outside her body.

Martinez says the condition is rare and occurs one in every 10,000 babies. Thursday morning her family was getting ready to take their little bundle of joy home.

“We thought we were going to be here until after Christmas,” the proud other said smiling. “Now we are going home on Halloween.”

The family has had to wait this long because Audrey needed a specialized car seat to protect her pouch.

“Normally the car seat has the harness that comes over the stomach and chest and we don’t want [that] pressure,” explained Cook Children’s Trauma Coordinator Sharon Evans. “This is a new seat that has a yoke and the straps come down the side so there is no pressure.”

The car seat is called the Jefferson and was made for Audrey by Merritt Manufacturing in Indianapolis. The company focuses on designs for children with special needs.

Cook Children’s is the first hospital in Texas to use the car seat.

“We really haven’t had a safe way to get them home, There are different car beds we could use but they didn’t really work as well as this,” Evans said.
The car seat costs about $1,500.  The hospital says donations and funding paid for it.

As for Audrey’s family this moment couldn’t have come soon enough.

This is the first of many major events still to come. Audrey will undergo her first major surgery when she’s 8-months-old.

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