Baby heads home after nearly 700 days in hospital

Francesca Garnetti

By Nicole Pelletiere, ABC News

(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- A Michigan baby is now home with her family after a hospital stay that lasted 694 days.

Valentina Garnetti was diagnosed in utero with hypoplastic left heart syndrome -- a condition that affects normal blood flow through the heart and causes the left side of the heart to not form correctly. The 1-year-old remained in

"She's the happiest baby in the whole entire world, despite everything's she's been through," mom Francesca Garnetti told Good Morning America. "She's the greatest joy. She loves everyone ... she just loves her life, genuinely."

Valentina was born at Mott Children's Hospital and stayed in its pediatric cardiothoracic intensive care unit.

Valentina has had six surgeries, including four open-heart surgeries and was once placed on life support for 14 days. Her first open-heart surgery came when she was 2 days old, and her most recent was in October.

"It's terrifying, I don't think you can prepare yourself for something like that," Garnetti said.

During her stay, Valentina became close with her six primary nurses: Erin, Wendy, Denise, Amanda, Stephanie and Liana. Garnetti even named Liana as Valentina's godmother.

"I've relied on my faith a lot and she helped me through it," Garnetti said of Liana. "On a personal level, if anything were to happen to me, she loves Valentina. She knows how to care for her and she would, without a doubt."

Dr. Mary Olive is a pediatric cardiologist at Mott Children’s Hospital who worked with Valentina.

"Valentina had a long and difficult journey here at Mott, but she continued to surprise us with her strength and resilience," Olive told GMA. "It was inspiring to see our whole congenital heart center team come together to determine how to best care for her."

"Her mom was also very strong and dedicated to doing whatever it took to help her get home," Olive added. "We were just so happy to see Valentina get to go home and spend time with her siblings and family."

On March 24, the hospital had a celebratory sendoff for Valentina.

Valentina is now home with her sisters, Gianna, 5, and Adriana, 1. Garnetti said Valentina is happy to finally be playing with other children.

Garnetti is now connecting with parents of kids who have heart conditions through the Facebook page, Valentina's Journey.

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