Having a baby is a life-changing event for any family.

But for parents of children born with heart defects, the first weeks, months, and years of their child’s life are especially scary and full of the unknown. According to the CDC, about 40,000 babies each year are born with a congenital heart defect (CHD). Around 25% of cases are considered critical, meaning the children need surgery to survive.

For Nicole Jameson and her two-year-old son Xander, their battle against CHD has been a long one, but they just keep fighting.

When she was 16 weeks along, Jameson found out that Xander would be born with life-threatening heart defects. Doctors recommended terminating the pregnancy, but she knew in her heart that was the wrong decision for her.

Xander had his first surgery on his stomach at 6 weeks old and open-heart surgery just a few days later.

Since then, he’s had many other procedures, including three additional open-heart surgeries. He’s truly a fighter!