A family from Rifle moved to Denver last month after they found out their baby had a heart defect. Their baby, Elliott, is now recovering from open-heart surgery.

The Mellons are from Rifle and recently moved to Denver for their baby boy, Elliott. While they were pregnant with their second baby, they knew something was different right around 30 weeks. Ariel was measuring 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule so they did an ultrasound and echocardiogram to look at the baby's heart.

According to the Aspen Times, the couple was referred to a specialist in Denver for a second echocardiogram. Their unborn baby was diagnosed with a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot, which according to the Aspen Times, is a rare condition caused by a combination of four heart defects present at birth.

The family made the decision to move to Denver, to be closer to their specialists and to avoid a life flight from the Western Slope. Ariel got a C-section at 39 weeks and baby Elliott looked and sounded great at first. But, according to Elliott's dad, Nate, when they cut his cord his heart rate dropped and they had to put in a breathing tube.

Baby Elliott was then taken to the NICU, where they found out that he had a hole between the septum's wall of his heart and his ventricles, according to Nate. Doctors recommended surgery and on the eleventh day of his life, Elliott had open-heart surgery.

Elliott will be a month old as of tomorrow and is still in the hospital. He's now breathing on his own and the family hopes to have their baby home by Thanksgiving. Elliott's mom visits him 3-4 times a day in the hospital. Ariel and their daughter are staying at the Ronald McDonald House, while Nate continues to drive back and forth from Rifle.

Baby Elliott will need at least 1-2 more open-heart surgeries in his lifetime to replace the pulmonary valve as his heart grows. The family currently has a GoFundMe and a bank account in Elliott's name at the Bank of Colorado. We hope that baby Elliott can come home soon.

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