Saying “da-da” is a milestone in every baby’s life, but for 1-year-old Maddie Caputo, who was born with her vocal cords fused together, the moment was all the more special.
“It was incredible to hear her,” her mom, Becca Caputo of Aurora, Ill., told SWNS. “It is a miracle for us.”
Maddie’s first words came following a complex surgery in August. She was born with her vocal cords 75 percent fused together and an airway no wider than a straw.
Because of the condition, her breaths were faint and hoarse when she tried to cry or laugh.
“When people heard her cry they would say, ‘Oh my gosh, does she have croup?’ because it sounded like a raspy whisper,” Becca said. “It was quiet and weak.”
When she suffered septic shock from an infection in April, she was resuscitated using a miniature breathing tube meant for preemies.
“At one point, things were looking really bleak, but she fought on,” her dad, Mike Caputo, said. “It is like she has some kind of superpower.”
Maddie eventually recovered and underwent the surgery that corrected her vocal chords.
“Without repair, her voice would have continued to be high-pitched, strained, and weak,” Mike said.
But the surgery was a success, and to her parents’ delight, Maddie now spends her days chatting and yelling around the house.
“Now her cry is louder and she has started forming words. She says ‘momma,’ ‘da-da,’ and ‘bye-bye,’” her mom said. “You would look at her and never know anything of what she went through.”