Aspen Moench Post OP

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Hospital Stay at the University of Utah Hospital:

Everything went picture perfect with the C-Section and Mom is recovering well. The University Hospital had an AMAZING Labor and Delivery Team (along with Mom’s OB Dr. Langeland) and our care during our stay was excellent. We stayed the full 4 days at the hospital for Aspen sake as the Pediatrician and Cardiology team evaluated her heart issue. They did two Echocardiograms (ECHO) on her heart where they look at the heart though an ultrasound to evaluate her known condition and rule out others issues. The ultrasound machine was just like the one they used on Mom except this machine has a tiny little ultrasound transducer for baby. Specifically they were watching to see if the ductus arteriosus was closed and/or they could rule out an Aotra Coarctation upon its closing. In plain English, here’s an explanation of what that last sentence meant: While Aspen was in Mom’s tummy as a fetus; her heart didn’t need a separate pulmonary artery and aorta. In the fetal heart, these two blood vessels are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosis. After birth, the ductus closes and a separate left pulmonary artery and aorta form. Aotra Coarctation is a heart defect that sometimes is found along with Aspen’s type of heart defect that refers to a narrowing of the Aorta where the ductus arteriosus inserts. If this defect is present, the closing of ductus arteriosus can be life-threatening or cause serious distress to the infant requiring immediate medical attention. With the repeat ECHO, the Cardiologists were able to rule out a possible Aotra Coarctation and she was able to come home with Mom and Dad. We left the hospital Sunday, January 24th & arrived home around 5pm.

Explanation of Baby Aspen’s Congenital Heart Defect:

Baby Aspen has a small heart defect they found in utero by specialized ultrasound which her doctors are monitoring closely. She has an ASD which means a hole between the 2 atria of her heart and a lack of separation of the mitral and tricuspid valves from a single valve to 2 separate valves between the embryonic atria and ventricles. It will require open heart surgery at some point in the first year of life to repair the hole and split the single valve into 2 valves. Apparently it’s a fairly common defect, and fetal cardiologists say usually requires a “one time fix” not requiring additional surgery later in life. Typically babies usually do really well with the surgery & are in and out of hospital w/in 4-5 days and it’s done so young the child won’t remember the surgery.


  1. She'll be continually be in my prayers.

  2. phew! that's a lot of big words. But it sounds like she has all the best going for her.

  3. Hey Nicole and Karsten congrats from the Nielson's! We were so excited when we heard the news! Aspen is adorable and she will be in our prayers! Hope all is well in Park City! Miss ya!