Special Report: Acelynn’s Journey

Baby Acelynn is an adorable, smiley 10 month-old that calls the Upper Peninsula home, however she’s never actually been there.

Her family lives in the Cedarville-Hessel area, but Acelynn has spent her entire life over 300 miles away in an Ann Arbor hospital.

Tayler Hecht has always wanted to be a mom. Last year she found it was finally happening.

“At 18 weeks they told me there was something wrong,” Hecht said. “They noticed there was an abnormal ultrasound.”

She sought a second opinion and talked with a specialist.

“That’s when they told us there were some organs outside of her body, they didn’t know how many or anything like that,” Hecht said.

Her baby had gastroschisis, a defect in the abdominal wall exposing many of her internal organs

“They were kind of telling me you have a couple weeks to decide, these babies usually don’t make it,” Hecht said.

Doctors were unsure if Acelynn would even survive the pregnancy.

“It was scary the whole way through, the entire way through,” Hecht said. “I was obviously very nervous because every girl wants to mom, so I’ve been waiting and waiting to be a mom and now I have a sick baby.”

With so many special circumstances, Tayler’s prenatal care was transferred down to the University of Michigan at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

“My biggest worry the whole pregnancy, is my baby going to be born alive?”

“After I has heard her cry I just, it was like the biggest sigh of relief, like okay I know she’s alive,” Hecht said.

At 36 weeks, Acelynn Elaine Hecht was born December 23, 2018 at just 3 pounds, 12 ounces, but her fight was just getting started,

“She is a fighter, that’s what everybody always says to me is she’s a fighter,” Hecht said.

In the first 8 months of her life, Acelynn had 15 medical procedures.

“She’s a small baby, every procedure is risky, every single one of them,” Hecht said. “She’s gonna fight ‘til the end, and I know she will, every time she goes to OR she puts her fist up and fights.”

Dr. Natasha Corbitt has been on Acelynn’s medical team since she was born.

“That happens about 2-4 (times) in 10,000 live births,” Dr. Corbitt said. “In her situation her liver was actually going through the defect, and that is even more uncommon, in fact it’s extremely rare.”

Part of the medical team’s challenge is fitting all these organs back into a very small baby.

“The mortality rate for liver out gastroschisis is probably about 50%,” Dr. Corbitt said. “Everybody has been working really hard, collaborating together to plan the next best step to get her this far, Acelynn has showed us she’s a fighter and If we keep working hard, she’s going to keep working hard.”

“Every procedure and everything that we do is making moves to go home now, and before it was just to try and get her stable,” Hecht said.

Now, doctors are focused on Acelynn doing “baby things” like sitting up, playing and cuddling. Their next goal is getting Acelynn home to the UP.

“Being away from my family and our support system has been hard, one day we will go back there one day, that’s our plan, to go back home and sit in our outside world,” Hecht said.

On top of all of this, Taylor is a single mom. She hopes to bring Acelynn home before her first birthday in December.

Of course, the extensive medical care has created some financial strains for the Hecht family.

If you are interested in donating to their GoFundMe page, click here.