A new mom is incredibly lucky to be alive. Three weeks before she was set to give birth, Edita Tracey,35, began having severe chest pain.
The reason stunned everyone involved in her care.
Fox 29's Karen Hepp has the miracle mom's remarkable story.
Edita, 8-months pregnant, was at her hair salon April 26th when her back started hurting.
"The pain, it wasn't sharp pain, it was just pressing," said Edita.
Edita called her husband Ken.
Then, as the pain moved to the front of her chest, she dialed 9-1-1.
"And I said, ‘I'm pregnant, 36 weeks, I'm having back and chest pain," she said.
Ken was away for work at the time.
"I was in Chicago for work, caught a flight back immediately," he said.
"The last thing I remember is emergency people coming, and that's it. I don't remember anything else," said Edita.
At the hospital doctors started running tests, trying to find out if something was wrong with the baby or Edita.
An obstetrician ordered a CT scan to look for blood clots.
And that's when they saw it; Edita, healthy, active, no symptoms until that day was in grave danger.
Her aorta, the main blood vessel feeding blood from her heart to the rest her body , was not only bulging, it was ripping apart.
The doctor immediately sent the scans to heart surgeon Dr. Omar Lattouf on his cellphone.
Doctors knew Edita didn't have much time.
So, they airlifted her to another hospital where two surgical teams were gathering; one to deliver her baby, the other to try to save her.
"With everyone knowing what needs to be done. And to do it. And to do it right, the first time. There are no missteps with this one, absolutely no missteps,” said Dr. Omar Lattouf.
Edita would be in surgery for close to 9 hours. High-risk obstetrician Dr. John Horton's team went first.
"When they put a mom under full-sleep anesthesia, that medication is now running towards the baby. So, I need to get to the baby as efficiently as possible," said Dr. John Horton.
"As soon as mom went to sleep, literally, literally, 30 seconds and that baby was out and screaming," said Dr. Omar Lattouf.
Arabella was 6 pounds, 12 ounces and beautiful. They were halfway there.
"The great thing was knowing we delivered the baby, the baby immediately cried, looked great. Looked like a perfectly healthy baby," said Dr. John Horton.
Then, Dr. Lattouf's team took over. In 30 years of performing heart surgery, Edita was his most complicated case.
The tear in her aorta stretched nearly a foot long.
He opened her chest, drained the blood pooling around her heart, then placed her on a heart-lung bypass, cooling down her body, so that he could repair and rebuild her aorta.
And, with his wife still on the table, Ken held their baby for the first time.
"You think about the baby, this should be a joyous occasion. And now your mind goes right back, it goes right back to if she's going to make it. The whole night was up and down," said Ken.
Edita made it, and woke the next day in the ICU, where they brought her Arabella.
"It was a great feeling to know that the baby was alive, and that I survived," said Edita.
Back home, Edita is both sore, and grateful. the surgeon who saved her says he's just glad he could.
"What a greater feeling to be able to save a mom's life. And to ensure that that baby will be in the arms of her mom for the rest of her life," said Dr. Omar Lattouf.
Edita's is expected to make a full recovery.
Doctors are still trying to figure out what cause her aorta to tear and bulge.
They think she may have had a spike in blood pressure , which is known as eclampsia.