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Pregnancy Now A Possibility For Pacemaker Patients

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It wasn't that long ago that children with congenital heart defects were not expected to make it to adulthood. Now, they're having children of their own which is creating a specialty for hospitals who care for the mother and her unborn child.

Christy Meredith and J.D. Smith, from Chandler, TX  found out in late February, they're expecting a baby.

Inside a hospital room at Medical City Children's Hospital, a nurse places a monitor on her belly so she can hear her baby's heartbeat.

It's strong. But, Christy's needed a new pacemaker.

"It was just time for my pacemaker generator change," she said.

It was implanted when she was 16 years old.

Christy, who's 24 now, was diagnosed with Complete AV Block when she was nine.

"So, my heart beats slower than what a normal person's would," she said.

Friday, doctors at Medical City Children's Hospital put in a new pacemaker.

Dr. Arnold Fenrich a pediatric cardiologist at Medical City Children's Hospital put Christy's first pacemaker in and put in her new one.

"She informed me she's pregnant and we could not wait until the end of her pregnancy because the battery would run out before then," Dr. Fenrich said.

"It was one of those either you get it and everything will be okay or you don't get it and I won't be here and the baby won't be here," she said.

The surgery was a success. Both mother and baby are fine.

J.D. can breathe a sigh of relief.

"I've been nervous all day. But, I knew God would do what's best for us," J.D. said.

Hearing the baby's heart beat made J.D. smile.

"Actually, it almost brought a tear to my eye," he said.

The future might have been different for everyone if Christy had been born before pacemakers and current medical technology.

Dr. Arnold Fenrich said, "A lot of times children born with heart problems, heart defects or even block of heart beats like Christy's, if without the surgery we can do these days and without the ability to put pacemakers in, often would not live into their adulthood years."

But now, heart patients who've had pacemakers put in when they were children are having children of their own.

And hospitals like Medical City Children's Hospital are taking care of the needs of the mother and the baby.

Christy will be released from the hospital Saturday. She expects to deliver a healthy baby boy in October.


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