Mother Receives Open-Heart Surgery While Giving Birth

Doctors save woman and her child after she suffered life-threatening aortic dissection during labor.
3:03 | 06/21/14

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Transcript for Mother Receives Open-Heart Surgery While Giving Birth
We turn to/medical miracle. A mother's remarkable story of giving birth while having open heart surgery. Mom and baby both pulling through and fortunately doing well lucky to be alive. ABC's Jennifer Ashton has the details. Reporter: This morning aidid da Tracy and newborn baby are flourishing. Miracle baby. Reporter: That wasn't the case six weeks ago when she was only 35 years old and 36 weeks pregnant was feeling this. I felt pressure in my back. Reporter: Her obstetrician immediately ordered a ct scan. It's Normal to feel tired. Reporter: The scan revealing a rare and catastrophic condition called an aortic disection. The major artery that carries the blood was rupturing. Two teams of surgeons rushed her to the operating room. Within 30 seconds obstetricians delivered her healthy baby girl via c-section then cardiac surgeons began a nine-hour open heart surgery. After waking up, I was not aware what had happened to me. I think I thought I already delivered. Reporter: Unexpected miracle this mom is thankful for. I was just happy that I was alive and that our daughter was alive. I think that the baby saved my life. Unbelievable story and ABC news senior medical contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton is here with more. You spoke with the heart surgeon last night. He gave you jaw-drop ago decisional facts. This was so much worse than originally reported. If you think of the aortic arch as the umbrella handle this was a dissection that really you can think of a tear in pantyhose and affected the entire arch coming into the head and heart and extended a foot down into her chest. An incredibly high mortality rate. It was absolutely a life and death situation. Incredibly rare. You look at her and she is young in her mid-30s and looks healthy. Well, the cause in this case really seems to have been a perfect storm of two factors. Number one, a connective Tisha: Disease called marfan syndrome that weakens the walls and two, pre-eclampsia, both happening at the same time. I'll never complain about having a c-section again. What is the takeaway for women at home when they feel pain? The take home is trust your instincts, listen to your body. That and the quick, smart and skilled action of these doctors and nurses saved two lives here. This is an unbelievable medical miracle. Medical miracle, indeed. The fact she says this baby saved her life. She did a good job too. They both did and the doughs. And nurses. Thank you. You bet. Thanks, Jen.

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