Heart Surgery Before and After Birth

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Nate and Meg with their daughter Abby.

“My husband and I made the wintry drive from upstate New York to Cleveland twice in 10 days to save our daughter’s life. I was 22 weeks pregnant with Abby when we learned she had pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum.

We found the Fetal Heart Intervention team at UH Rainbow through a Facebook group. Due to Abby’s position in utero, it took the doctors three attempts over three very long days to place the balloon and open her tiny valve. Third time was a charm! We traveled home with the plan of returning to UH for the delivery.

Abby had other plans. She arrived in New York at 34 weeks via emergency C-section, despite medical teams at both hospitals carefully coordinating care. Just five days after she was born, we were again driving to Cleveland, only this time trailing an ambulance carrying our baby in critical condition.

It was agonizing being separate from our daughter, but we knew she was in the best of hands at UH Rainbow. Every nurse, doctor, and specialist offered reassurance and such amazing care.

Abby underwent another balloon valvuloplasty at one week old. She scared us a couple more times before we brought her home just before her due date. She needed another balloon valvuloplasty at three months, and ultimately required open-heart surgery at six months. She recovered amazingly well and was discharged five days later.

After surgery, Abby was a new baby. She had more energy and strength, and her sweet personality really started to shine. Her pediatrician in New York and the amazing heart team at UH Rainbow closely monitor Abby’s health. She celebrated her first birthday, and kicked off Heart Month with a good report from her cardiologist.

We are feeling blessed and extremely grateful to the Congenital Heart Collaborative for the care they provided our daughter and us during a difficult time. They will always have a special place in our hearts.” – Meg and Nate, Abby’s parents 

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