A BABY born with a rare heart condition has undergone open heart surgery at just a week old.

Lucy Nichols and Jake Lawrence were delighted when they found out they were expecting their baby girl, Rylee-Hope.

However, 20 weeks into the pregnancy the couple, from Great Bentley, discovered their baby had a potentially dangerous heart defect.

Known as aortic coarctation it restricts the amount of blood being pumped around the body.

Rylee-Hope was born on September 5, weighing 5lb 6oz, via emergency caesarian section.

Jake, 21, said: “She was immediately transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital that night once she was stable.

“She had her first open heart surgery on September 12 at only seven days old to repair the narrowing of her aorta and a ventricular septal defect.

“It took six and a half hours and was worse than they thought but it went well.”

Rylee-Hope’s chest was left open to allow for swelling to go down and to check her heart but her parents say she is stable and is doing well.

Jake said: “She will be having her chest closed in the next few days once the swelling has gone down but more surgery is needed in the future as it was too much for her little heart to cope with everything being done at once.

“It has been an emotional and scary time for all of us and we’ve had setbacks but we are so proud of our baby Rylee, with all she’s been through in her little life she’s still smiling like nothing’s wrong.

“She gives us hope for the future.”

Jake and Lucy do not know the extent of their baby’s condition. They found out they were expecting their first child in January and at first there were no complications but when they found out about her health problems, they distraught.

The couple are expecting to be in hospital for up to six months, as further surgeries may be needed.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money to support Rylee and the family through the first few months of her life.

It is not known what impact the condition will have on Rylee-Hope as she grows up.

To support the family, visit gofundme.com/f/baby-rylee039s-support-fund.