NRL News

Woman gives birth to baby she carried outside of womb

by | May 26, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Azelan Cruz Perfecto

It’s pretty risky to say anything is a “first” but doctors in Phoenix believe the baby boy Nicollete Soto delivered Monday may qualify: Azelan Cruz Perfecto may be the first child successfully delivered having developed outside his mother’s uterus!

According to the Arizona Republic, doctors told the 27-year-old Soto that carrying the Azelan was a risk to both his life and to hers, “but she wanted to see the pregnancy through, said her boyfriend, Victor Perfecto. ‘We took a risk,’ he said at the hospital, hours after witnessing the successful birth. ‘We left it for the doctors to decide when to deliver the baby and God to decide everything else.’”

Fortunately, all went well. Doctors say Azelan, born at 32 weeks and weighing 2 pounds, 14 ounces, was doing “great.”

The medical explanation is both incredibly fascinating and complicated. The Republic reports that doctors first thought Soto was carrying her baby completely outside her uterus, in her abdomen.

“They feared that even if the baby were delivered successfully, there would be grave risk for the mother,” reported Richard Ruelas. “The placenta might have attached itself to a vital organ, they feared, making its removal tricky, if they could detach it at all.”

As it turned out, Azelan was not an abdominal pregnancy but what is known as a cornual pregnancy—where the embryo attaches to the area where the fallopian tube meets the uterus.

“That area of the uterus is not supposed to stretch enough to accommodate a pregnancy, said Dr. Rodney Edwards, one of the surgeons in the operating room Monday. Pregnancies of that type usually end at the 12- to 14-week mark, with the tube rupturing,” Ruelas reported.

“’For some reason, hers did not rupture,’ said Edwards, the director of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Center at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center. ‘It continued to stretch.’”

Her condition was not discovered until she was 18 weeks along. Ruelas reports that had doctors known earlier they would have recommended an abortion.

“But with the fetus that far along, doctors knew they were already on dangerous ground,” according to Ruelas. They advised Soto of the risks but according to Perfecto she was adamant.

“She decided, ‘I want to keep going,'” he told Ruelas. “All I could do is support her and be there.”

But in the end Soto “needed no special medical intervention and didn’t even lose much blood,” Ruelas reported. “[Dr. William] Clewell said the only unusual aspect of her surgery will be a larger-than-normal abdominal scar.”

For his part, Dr. Edwards concluded, “This is just a case that proves, in medicine, nothing happens ‘always’ or ‘never.’”

Victor Perfecto explained that “Azelan” is a variation of “Aslan,” the name of the “Great Lion” who is the central figure in C .S. Lewis’s, “The Chronicles of Narnia.”

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