Expectant mother faces heartbreaking decision

Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - When a local woman was 30 weeks pregnant, doctors told her the odds were that neither she nor her baby would survive.
 
Joy Lauver  developed the lung condition,  pulmonary hypertension, as a side-effect of her treatment for chronic leukemia. The Blair County woman became short of breath going up hills or walking up steps,  but didn't it was life-threatening, until she was seven and a half months pregnant.
 
That's when an EKG and other testing showed a critical situation. "They had told me that the right side of my heart was working extra hard cause of the pulmonary pressure in my lungs that it could be it could be dangerous after I delivered the baby," she remembers.
 
Doctors in Altoona had Joy rushed to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she  a team of doctors, including cardiologist Raymond Benza. They didn't have good news for her either.
 
She says, "they had told me it was a 16 percent chance of both of us surviving the delivery and at that point it was scary."
 
She had a tough choice, save herself or the baby. Joy already had four- year-old Bentley  and her fiancee depending on her. The decision was made to try to save Joy. "It was heart wrenching. It was devastating," she says.
 
Doctors hoped to hold up Joy's delivery until she reached her 36th  week, but her water broke on February 19, at 32 weeks, and to everyone's surprise, the delivery went smoothly.
 
Then, Joy heard something she didn't expect, a baby's cry.  She says, "I was pretty excited because at that point I was  told that he probably wouldn't make it.."
 
Medical personnel rushed him away for testing and found he was in pretty good shape. "I got to hold him for maybe a minute or so," she says.
 
After a month in the hospital, Baby Wyatt went home at 36 weeks. Joy left with an intravenous tube in her chest, medications, and a monitor.
 
She says she and Wyatt are doing well. She's tired, but that's partly his fault.
 
"We have our nights where we don't like to sleep much, but we get it, we're getting it," she says, smiling.
 
Wyatt is now up to more than six and a half pounds. His mother believes what happened was a miracle.
 
 

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