Story of Healing

Londyn Hernandez

Pointe Coupee Parish

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"With another heart surgery in place for next year, Joni remains hopeful that Londyn will continue to receive the care she needs in order to live a long and happy life.  "

“No way in the universe this will be successful.”  

It’s the words no mother wants to hear, but one mother, Joni Hernandez, heard from her maternal fetal medicine doctors in Texas as they delivered the news that her baby wouldn’t survive birth. At 23 weeks pregnant, Joni learned her baby girl, Londyn, had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and hypoplastic heart syndrome. It was just a few days before Christmas of 2018, when her world flipped upside down. 

“I went through Christmas fearing my baby would die,” shares Joni. “I slapped on a fake smile and told myself be happy for my other daughter, Ainsley.” 

As Pointe Coupee natives, Joni often took Ainsley to see a pediatrician in Baton Rouge. Hearing Joni’s heart-wrenching story, the pediatrician referred her to pediatric cardiologist Dr. Michael Brumund at Children’s Hospital New Orleans to check on Londyn’s case. 

“Dr. Brumund gave me hope. He sent my case to a surgeon at Children’s and they explained to me that as long as Londyn could breathe over the vent when she was born, they could perform the necessary surgeries,” explains Joni. 

On February 4, 2019, Londyn Hernandez made her way into the world at Touro. She was transported to Children’s Hospital and spent three months split between the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). During that time, Children’s Hospital experts, like Dr. David Yu, performed hernia repair surgery. Londyn also had bowel obstruction surgery and at 15 months old had the Glenn Procedure done on her heart. This procedure creates a pathway between the superior vena cava and main artery to the lungs. 

“Everyone at Children’s Hospital has been so great to our family. Not only have they cared for Londyn, but they were also very kind to Ainsley when she came to visit,” shares Joni. “Dr. Kurt Piggott cared for Londyn in the CICU and said he was amazed Londyn was doing so well following her Glenn Procedure. He said she was doing great considering her lung capacity. She only has 1.5 lungs due to her congenital diaphragmatic hernia.” 

“Londyn is another one of our amazing heart warriors,” shares Dr. Piggott. “She defines resiliency. Dr Yu, the entire heart center team, and most importantly her family are the reason she is thriving today! She is a reminder to us all that teamwork, faith, and a positive outlook can sometimes defy the odds.I look forward to caring for Londyn again after her next heart surgery!” 

“Londyn is now almost three years old and she’s playful and she’s like her mama,” Joni laughs. “She loves everything tidy and in the right place!” 

With another heart surgery in place for next year, Joni remains hopeful that Londyn will continue to receive the care she needs in order to live a long and happy life.  

“It’s all up to God. I always tell people never lose hope and appreciate everything,” says Joni. “Try not to worry about the little things and enjoy your kids. Worrying doesn’t change anything, and that’s what I’ve learned through this experience.” 

Click here to learn more about the Heart Center at Children’s Hospital New Orleans.