During his initial year and a half of life, Christopher endured 15 surgeries -- all attempts to force his heart into his chest cavity. "When the heart doesn't grow inside the chest in utero -- when the baby's inside the mother -- there's no room. So we were not able to initially put the heart back into the body," Vetter said.
Forcing the heart into his chest would have put too much strain on the blood vessels, dangerously restricting blood flow and causing the heart to stop beating. Doctors had no choice but to cover the heart over with skin and let the chest cavity grow. (Courtesy of Teresa Wall )