FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Before red-headed Thomas Gray Lindsey was even born, pediatric doctors at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock already had his best interest in mind.

“They really do take care of the children from the moment they’re conceived just about if they know there’s an issue,” Thomas Gray’s mother Toni Lindsey said.

During a routine ultrasound, Toni’s doctors noticed something didn’t look normal.

A more advanced ultrasound revealed the baby boy growing inside her, had some heart defects. One would require surgery immediately upon his arrival, the other would need to be monitored.

Toni said, “It was so reassuring to know that the doctors who were taking care of him while he was still inside me, were the ones that would be doing the surgery upon him being delivered and being here on this earth.”

Lucky for Thomas, the defect that would have required immediate surgery, healed itself before he was born November 6, 2018.

Thomas did, however, come into this world with a ventricular septal defect (VSD). He stayed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital for about two weeks.

Arkansas Children’s Northwest Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Kevin Hinkle explained this heart condition as a hole between the two lower chambers of the heart.

It’s a diagnosis Dr. Hinkle said isn’t uncommon. “About 1% of kiddos are born with some sort of congenital heart disease though, and his, in particular, is probably one of the more common one of those.”

While Thomas Gray didn’t need to have his VSD repaired right away, Toni learned he would have to have open-heart surgery. “It is words that no parent wants to hear,” Toni said.

At just over 6-months-old, tiny Thomas Gray’s went into surgery.

Toni said, “Knowing that they have the best surgeons and the best staff there at Arkansas Children’s it was a little bit easier to hand our baby over.”

Not only was his heart at top of mind for doctors, but also his lungs. Toni said Thomas Gray’s lungs had been overcompensating for his heart.

“With the repairs the surgeons did, his lungs and his heart levels have all balanced out and he’s growing like a weed and he’s eating and he’s developing. It’s exhausting chasing him and keeping up with him but we wouldn’t have it any other way!”

More than a year later Thomas Gray has so much energy and personality.

Every now and then he does still have check-ups with his pediatric doctors, but Toni said he isn’t expected to face any more challenges from his VSD.

Thanks to doctors at Arkansas Children’s in Little Rock and Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale, the now 19-month-old has been left with a lot of love to give.