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On November 25, 2021 I was 21 weeks 6 days pregnant. I went for a routine OBGYN appointment, and when my doctor used the heart doppler she noticed my daughters heart sounded very strange. I was sent for numerous tests, and after a few days and a referral to the Jim Pattison’s hospital to meet with the fetal cardiologist, we were given the news that our daughter had developed something I had never heard of before, called complete heart block.

Aurora’s electrical system in her heart that tells the chambers to beat had been damaged due to my autoimmune disease, that I did not know I had. Her fetal heart rate up until this point had been 150 bpm average, it was now averaging 70-80 bpm. I was prescribed medication and steroids to keep her stable until I could safely deliver. We were also given the news that day that our baby needed a pacemaker and would need one for the rest of her life.

I gave birth in Edmonton on March 14, 2022 and we stayed at the Ronald McDonald house for a month. Aurora was in the NICU for 12 days and to our surprise went home without surgery as she was doing very well managing her low heart rate for the time being. We lived in the Edmonton area until her time for surgery and was followed very closely by the Stollery electrophysiology team. Aurora began experiencing some strange symptoms that potentially could have been heart-related, so our team decided it was time to pace her, and she had her pacemaker implanted on May 5, 2023.

Her pacemaker is estimated to last 5-7 years, and she is reliant on her pacemaker 100% of the time, which means that it will not take breaks and let her underlining heart rate take over. Once her pacemaker begins running out of battery she will eventually get generator changes. But that is a few more years down the road. Aurora is doing so amazingly well! Her heart function has improved tremendously and has regulated her heart rate and blood flow. I am so proud of our little heart warrior.

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