Couple expecting baby with two heart defects and one-in-ten chance of survival welcome “miracle” baby girl
A couple whose unborn child had been given a one-in-ten chance of survival welcomed a baby girl today.
Alissa and Matt Peppley, from Tumwater, Washington, described their delight at the birth of Anna Joy, whose two rare heart defects were discovered at their 20 week scan.
Writing on their blog today, they revealed that their daughter weighs 7lb 10oz, and can breathe on her own.
Survivor: Alissa and Matt Peppley today welcomed Anna Joy, who, despite being diagnosed with two rare heart defects, can breathe on her own
She is now strong enough to be transported to Seattle Children”s Hospital for specialist care.
Mrs Peppley”s sister, Katie Gross, revealed the news on behalf of the couple.
She wrote: “[Anna] came out screaming and is breathing on her own… Alissa is doing well, and both Matt and Alissa have been able to hold her.”
The Peppley family triggered an outpouring of support when they started recording their story on their blog.
It described how after four cycles of fertility treatment to conceive their first child, they were stunned when they learned they were expecting a second time.
Fighting chance: Anna, who triggered an outpouring of support from around the world, is strong enough to be transferred to Seattle Children”s Hospital
But their joy turned to worry when they were told that their unborn daughter had a rare heart defects, giving her just a one-in-ten chance of survival.
Thanks to support from their local church and the surrounding community, the baby fast became the centre of a global fundraising effort and prayer chain, hoping for her survival.
Mrs Peppley, who had been faced with theheartbreaking prospect that her daughter may not live more than a couple of hours, said on a local news station on Tuesday that she already considered the child a miracle.
Heartbreaking prospect: Alissa and Matt Peppley were devastated when they learned their unborn daughter only had a ten per cent chance of survival
She told King 5 News: “We believe Anna, this baby, is a gift, from God, and it”s precious and she has a purpose.”
In the interview, she and her husband described their shock at first finding out about the baby”s problems at the 20-week scan.
“It looked like she had hypo plastic left heart syndrome,” Mrs Peppley said. “She didn”t have a complete heart. That was quite shocking.”
Miracle pregnancy: The couple went through four cycles of fertility treatment to conceive their son, Isaac, now 21 months
Heart defect: Baby Anna”s problems were diagnosed at the 20-week scan
The couple, already parents to 21-month-old Isaac, were told that their little girl would have to have three rounds of surgery before her third birthday.
But the situation worsened following a second ultrasound, when they were told that there were further complications with the veins running from the lungs to the heart.
“It was about a month later that we went back for a follow up visit and that”s when they found the second heart defect, Mr Peppley recalled.
Network of hope: The couple”s story on their pregnancy blog inspired an outpouring of support from around the world, and even a prayer chain
The couple, who set up a blog to keep family and friends up-to-date on the progress of their pregnancy, say they are overwhelmed by the volume of support it inspired.
“We have prayers going up all over the nation, all over the world that are going up for us,” Mr Peppley said. “We”re doing okay.”
And his wife said she was philosophical about the future.
“It doesn”t matter why, if any one person is affected in a good way by her life, then it”s worth it,” she said. “And that”s already happened.”