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Tessa is outgoing, talkative, and silly, bringing her personality and lots of joy to every situation. You would never know by looking at her that she had brain surgery when she was just three days old.

Tessa was born at 32 weeks, nearly two months premature, with congenital hydrocephalus—a condition caused by too much fluid on the brain that caused her head to swell and put pressure on her still developing brain structures. Hydrocephalus is a condition commonly known as “water on the brain.”

“This was a super scary, as we had no idea what any of this meant for our daughter,” Tessa’s mom says. “We were about to find out.”

On the third day of her young life, Tessa underwent brain surgery to help relieve pressure on her tiny head. She spent 56 days in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, a frightening experience for any family. “We had never experienced anything like it,” says Tessa’s mom. “We made it through the weeks in the NICU thanks to the support of our team of doctors, nurses and caregivers.”

Although her prognosis was grim, Tessa has beaten every single odd against her. “We were told to expect that she would have some significant developmental delays,” her mom says, “but she doesn’t. We were told she might have difficulty learning skills such as walking and talking, but she does both with ease.” 

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