Karla Barrientos, 22, came to UC Davis Health when she found out that she was pregnant at 12 weeks.

Karla had open-heart surgeries at 9 months and at 4 years, with her final Fontan surgery at age 12. She remembers that she couldn’t run or play like other children and required oxygen as she was living in a higher elevation in Truckee. As an adult, she would get tired frequently. Going up stairs was hard, she said.

Karla is also a Fontan patient, who was worried that she and her developing baby wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.

Before the Fontan procedure, most children born with single ventricles would die before their second birthday. These days, the survival rate of these patients has extended through young adulthood and now patients with prior Fontan procedures are interested in trying to have children.

Karla stopped working shortly after finding out about her pregnancy to minimize her respiratory issues.

She was followed closely by a multidisciplinary team at UC Davis, including maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric cardiology, obstetrics, and pediatric cardiac anesthesiology.

Her baby, Andrea, was born via scheduled cesarean section at 36 weeks last May.

Karla had a very quick recovery post-partum and was able to be discharged from UC Davis Medical Center four days after Andrea was born.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it. I’m so glad that I did. I love being a mom,” Karla Barrientos said.