Lubbock family back home after surgery for infant's congenital h - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Lubbock family back home after surgery for infant's congenital heart defect

Brynlee (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs) Brynlee (Source: Ashlyn Tubbs)
Source: Smylie Source: Smylie
Source: Smylie Source: Smylie

February is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month, a type of condition one Lubbock family did not know would affect them until doctors gave them a diagnosis that would change their lives .

Caci Smylie and Gabriel Morales were first told their three-month-old daughter, Brynlee Morales, would have a congenital heart defect when she was still in the womb.

"We didn't know exactly what it was," Smylie said. "We actually ended up having to pack our bags and basically live in Houston before she was born."

Doctors told them Brynlee's heart was defective on the left side of the heart, a condition known Shone's Syndrome.

"She has about four of the eight lesions that go with Shone's Syndrome," Morales said.

Brynlee's defect is so rare that from 1999 to 2009, Smylie said they are told there were less than 50 reported cases of Shone's Syndrome in medical literature.

"Once she was born, she was in the NICU for a week," Smylie said.

But Smylie said Brynlee defied all odds.

"She started daycare…she's just like any other normal baby there is," she said.

That is, until Brynlee became sick a few weeks ago.

"Unfortunately, but kind of luckily, she came down with RSV," Smylie said.

Smylie's doctor told her the timing of that sickness potentially saved Brynlee's life.

"The part that was needing to grow with her [heart] was not growing," Smylie said. "He feels like if we had waited until her actual follow-up appointment, she would have gone into the heart failure."

Brynlee had to go to Houston and have heart surgery on February 13.

"We both talked a lot about, God has a plan," Smiley said.

Handing Brynlee over to surgeons was the hardest part of that day.

"It's a tearjerker for one part, seeing your child, so small, go back there and know she's going to be cut open and whatnot," Morales said.

The procedure went so well that they all returned home last Thursday, and Brynlee's scar is healing fast.

"We're just happy to be a family again," Morales said.

As they continue to monitor Brynlee's lifelong condition that will require more surgeries, Morales and Smylie hope others will take time to learn about what can happen if these conditions go untreated.

"If you feel like something is wrong, take them in," Smylie said. "You never know."

To help Brynlee and her family with her journey and expenses, visit

To follow Brynlee's progress, visit

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