Baby Has Life-Saving Surgery While Still Inside the Womb

newbornPregnancy can be a scary thing. Yes, thousands of women do it every hour of every day, but that doesn't negate the fact that having a baby comes with risks many of us never imagined. I can only imagine the fear that struck Sarah-Jane Harrup when doctors told her that her baby would not be able to breathe when she was born. Though all hope was not lost. A team of 20 doctors and specialists were able to do an emergency, two-hour procedure on her baby while still in the womb. The outcome wasn't just a miracle for this family, it actually affects every single woman who plans to get pregnant.


Doctors first noticed a problem during the 20-week sonogram. The baby's neck was swollen and it was pressing on her windpipe. If she were born naturally, she would not be able to breathe on her own. So they performed a Cesarean section, but before they took her out, they inserted a tube to allow her to breathe once the umbilical cord was cut.

Pretty amazing. I had a pretty scary pregnancy and I am always encouraged and inspired by these stories. Babies that would have been written off even five years ago have such a great chance of survival. Stories like this are really important for women who are planning to get pregnant to know. The sad fact is that not every woman has the same kind of medical care -- not in this country and certainly not around the world.

But it's important for us to remember that no matter the medical situation, there is so much that can be done to save both mothers and babies. Every year, there are amazing advances made that help save unborn babies that are in medically precarious situations. Those of us fortunate enough to live in places with amazing medical facilities are more familiar with this. And I think that comes with a very important responsibility -- to advocate for those who are not so fortunate. How do we do this? It may be by supporting a program like Doctors Without Borders or donating to the March of Dimes.

Now Sarah-Jane's baby, who she named Sienna, is thriving. Every family should be blessed with such a happy ending.

Did your baby need extra medical care either before or right after being born?


Image via Owen Franken/Corbis

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