Saving Baby Aspen: Rare ‘in utero’ heart surgery not successful, Snoqualmie couple not giving up hope

UPDATE |  JANUARY 19th, 3:30PM

Unfortunately, the in utero surgery to help baby Aspen’s heart was not successful. Doctors could not get her into the correct position for the procedure in the allotted 45 minute timeframe. Taking longer to get her into position could cause early labor. On Tuesday a second attempt to position Aspen was again unsuccessful, and Britney’s placenta also began to bleed a little.

Perry and Britney will return to Seattle and meet with doctors, including a pediatric cardiology. According to updates on the Aspen’s Heart Fund GoFundMe page, early delivery with immediate intervention is a most likely ‘Plan B’ course of action for Aspen.

The couple is extremely grateful for the outpouring of love and support from their community – and around the country – and say they are not giving up hope.


ORIGINAL STORY

It started last month when Snoqualmie resident, Britney Blomquist, insisted on an additional ultrasound at her 29 week prenatal checkup to monitor her low-lying placenta. The four weeks since have been a whirlwind of medical consultations and intervention aimed at fixing baby Aspen’s heart.

What the routine ultrasound revealed was a noticeably larger left heart ventricle, with abnormal blood flow. Aspen’s dad, Perry Ford, said they were immediately scheduled to see a cardiac specialist the following morning.

Perry said that’s when reality set in.

Aspen was diagnosed with a congenital disorder known as Fetal Aortic Stenosis. Her aortic valve wasn’t fully opening, which causes a decrease in the forward movement of blood into the aorta – impairing development of the left ventricle.

The cardiac specialist’s diagnosis showed that Aspen’s heart wasn’t able to pump oxygenated blood effectively to her brain and body, which can hinder development during a gestational period of rapid growth.  At 32 weeks, specialists also said it was risky for Aspen to survive outside the womb.

The shocking diagnosis landed Britney, Perry and Aspen on a plane to Boston last week so that Britney and Aspen can undergo in utero heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. The surgery was originally set for last Friday, but both Britney and Perry unexpectedly developed food poisoning so the surgery was postponed until Monday, January 16th.

Perry said there have been 125 of this specialized in utero heart procedure performed with a 90% success rate. The ‘balloon procedure’ involves inserting a tiny balloon-like device into Aspen’s aortic valve to keep it open and increase blood flow. Doing the surgery in utero will also help prevent Aspen from being delivered prematurely.

Perry said, “The doctor who wrote the book on this surgery is the best in the world and will be performing it on baby Aspen.”

While this surgery will save Aspen’s life now, she may still face additional surgeries in the future. Perry said getting the word out about Congenital Aortic Stenosis is the best hope for their family’s longterm success.

Up until the ultrasound at 29 weeks, Britney’s pregnancy was a progressing perfectly, with all tests coming back normal. Needless to say, the shock of Aspen’s condition has left the couple experiencing lots of emotions.

Friends started a GoFundMe last week, titled Baby Aspen’s Heart Fund, in an effort to help in some way. In just three days over $10,000 has been raised to help the family with medical costs.

You can keep up with Baby Aspen’s condition, learn more about Fetal Aortic Stenosis, and/or donate on the GoFundMe page.

Good Luck Perry, Britney and Aspen – wishing you guys the best from 3,000 miles away!

Snoqualmie residents Britney Blomquist and Perry Ford.

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Comments

  1. Perry Ford says

    Thank you for reaching out to Britney and I.

    I’ve been in the valley for over 20 years. I’ve coached kids soccer and basketball and baseball. Working with hundreds of kids and enjoying every minute. My own son participated in the sports programs as a healthy young man with great skills and attitude.
    Fast forward a few years and We find ourselves having a kiddo that is fighting to survive inside mom. We have had a huge outpouring of support since finding out of this rare form of Aortic Stenosis. His has blind sided us but we feel it is our job to give baby Aspen every chance. So we end up in Boston with the doctor who wrote the book on this life saving surgery. Please follow us and pray for us as we take this journey. Any support is going to help Aspen progress today and years to come.

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