Pregnant woman undergoes heart valve replacement, gives birth to healthy baby boy

Six-week-old Denver Tritten looked frankly bored by the lunch reception at Virtua Health and Wellness Center in Cherry Hill on Thursday, but someday when he’s older his Mom, Elen, and his Dad, Taylor, will explain to him the miracle of his safe birth.

In April, Elen found herself in desperate need of a mitral heart valve replacement while pregnant with Denver.

"We want the baby really bad and you want to make sure, but I was also scared something would happen with me," Elen said. "Doctors said with the valve I have you're not going to make it through the pregnancy the chances were that I die and the baby dies."

Traditional open-heart surgery was out of the question, because it posed a threat of putting too much stress on her heart.

“We did not want to put her through a big operation which would only increase the risk of another big operation later on in life," Dr. Aurther Martella said. "You can only go back into the chest so many times before the risk becomes prohibitive.”

Instead, doctors at Virtua Health successfully completed a minimally invasive procedure, in which they made a small incision under Elen’s left breast and inserted a new mitral valve into the heart.

A few months later, Elen gave birth to a 7 lbs, 13 oz baby boy.

The Trittens on Thursday were reunited with the medical team that turned the terrifying to the incredible. Elen recalled the feeling of joy that overwhelmed her when she first laid eyes on her healthy baby.

As for Elen's new heart valve, her latest echocardiogram shows it is still working like a charm.