Hospital's first-ever procedure saves New Jersey mom-to-be and unborn baby

CHERRY HILL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A South Jersey woman is on cloud 9, as a new mom, following a life-saving procedure for her and her unborn baby.

It was something doctors don't think has ever been attempted before with an expectant mother.

It was a complicated case that took a lot of planning and teamwork. But their work paid off.

"I stare at him a lot, see he's growing healthy, and he's beautiful," says Elenilza Tritten.

Elen and Taylor Tritten are enjoying every moment with baby Denver, especially because his birth almost wasn't possible.

Doctors at Virtua Health say just as they realized Elen needed a procedure to fix her failing heart, they also discovered she was pregnant

"Then all of a sudden there's two patients involved, definitely made things more complicated," notes cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Arthur Martella.

Due to a childhood illness, Elen had a faulty mitral valve. That put both her life and the baby's life in danger.

So just 15 weeks into the pregnancy, doctors performed a minimally invasive procedure.

An artificial valve, typically used to replace aortic valves in older adults, was inserted to replace her mitral valve.

In some cases, the heart would have to be stopped, however, that would be too risky for the baby.

"So we paced her heart, got it into a flutter for 20 seconds, and then that brought time to deploy the valve. And once we stopped pacing, it started functioning immediately," says interventional cardiologist Dr. Ibrahim Moussa with a smile.

Elen was then closely monitored, with her delivery planned with several teams of specialists

"Which included anesthesia, cardiac surgery team, neonatal and ob-gyn," notes

The planning paid off.

Denver came into this world October 1, at a very healthy 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Both he and mom were healthy.

"It just meant a lot because to see how much Elen and Denver went thru and see them and hold him, it was incredible," says happy dad Taylor Tritten.

Taylor, who is in the U.S. Air Force, is originally from Colorado and says he always dreamed of naming a son Denver
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