'Miracle of life': baby born after undergoing revolutionary surgery inside mother's womb

Junie Sihlangu
Sep 24, 2018
05:47 A.M.
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Geoff and Rachel Finn were both thrilled when they found out they were expecting another child. The baby would join big brother Bear, 4.


However, when Rachel was about 20 weeks along, they had an ultrasound to scan the baby's anatomy. The scan revealed their daughter had a heart defect.

Geoff and Rachel Finn, both 25, found out their daughter had rare congenital heart defects that meant she might not survive after birth. Rachel said:

"I could just see the ultrasound technician's face completely change. We knew there was something wrong right away just by the look on her face."


For more on this story go to our Twitter account @amomama_usa. Baby Ivy was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

The syndrome caused her heart to not be able to pump oxygen to her body. The little girl also had a condition called intact atrial septum.


Despite all this, there was still hope for Ivy. Her doctors told her parents that there was an experimental surgery which was never before performed while still in the womb.

The procedure might give Ivy a chance at life. The little girl’s mother said:

"I was just very thankful that there was something that we could attempt.”


Last month, the Finns moved from their home in Jacksonville, Florida, to Houston, Texas, where Ivy could receive care at the Texas Children's Hospital. Michael Belfort performed the first part of the procedure.

Belfort is the hospital's obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief, who specializes in maternal-fetal medicine and fetal intervention. His colleague Henri Justino, director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at Texas Children’s, placed the stent.


The procedure was a success and last Friday, the little girl was born at 2:06 p.m. Rachel described the moment of her birth as "pure joy."

She added,

"They placed her on my chest as soon as she was born and she came out screaming and that was something we weren't sure we'd ever hear and so it was amazing."


The little girl already had her first successful open-heart surgery. It was one of the three that were planned for baby Ivy. Her mother stated:

"I mean, our faith is what's been, what's gotten us this far and just holding onto hope knowing that, you know, this life isn't everything, and so we're just thankful for the time we've been given so far.”


Geoff added,

"We kind of said, 'Ivy, if you live for 10 seconds or if you live for 100 years, we're going to be there and loving you with all of who we are throughout the entire time.'"

Ivy is currently back in the ICU, recovering and preparing for the next step. To help the Finns, you can donate on their GoFundMe account here.


In another story, at 23 weeks gestation, Drew and Ariann Corpstein were told to abort their baby due to a developmental problem. They were told that their baby had developed a malformed brain tissue and that his brain had not, and would not develop fully.

The child had a semi-lobar holoprosencephaly, a brain condition where the hemispheres only divide partially, instead of all the way. The parents refused to listen to their doctors and on July 29, Matthew James was born.

An MRI revealed that the child was misdiagnosed and instead had hydrocephalus, a separate but less dangerous condition that places fluid on the brain which doctors attended to quickly.

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