Patient stories

Mason's story

Before he was born, doctors diagnosed Mason with congenital pulmonary airway malformation. This means cysts had formed in his lungs, and they were pressing on his heart. Because his heart was not working well, fluid built up throughout his little body, leading to an often-fatal condition called hydrops.

Several doctors told Mason's parents that nothing could be done to save their unborn son. They were referred to the Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin 22 weeks into the pregnancy. Doctors at the Fetal Concerns Center knew that delivering an extremely premature baby with only one working lung and hydrops would certainly lead to death, but Mason would die before birth if doctors did nothing.

Mason's family and the doctors decided to take action. Before Mason was born, a shunt was used to drain the largest cysts to take pressure off his heart and allowed the pregnancy to continue.

Mason was born about 8 weeks early and spent the next 6 weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where he had surgery to remove part of his right lung. But today, Mason is an active, healthy boy. Doctors predict that both lungs will be healthy and normal by the time Mason turns 8.

Evan and Owen's story

Learn about the care Heather received for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome during her pregnancy with Evan and Owen.

Branda's story


Before she was born, doctors found a large mass blocking Branda's airway. Branda's parents were referred to the Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin, where doctors and nurses helped her parents understand her condition and plan treatment that could save her life.

To save Branda's life, doctors at Children's Hospital and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin teamed up to perform one of the first EXIT procedures in southeast Wisconsin. During this procedure, doctors performed surgery on Branda before birth, while she still was getting oxygen through the umbilical cord. They created an airway for her so that she would be able to breathe at birth. After the surgery, doctors delivered Branda 8 weeks early.

After Branda was born, doctors determined the tumor could not be removed. She spent about 70 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

Through the years, Branda's tumor shrunk and then disappeared by itself, without treatment. Today, Branda is a healthy, happy girl that runs and plays like any other child.

Gannon's story


Before birth, Gannon was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart, which means that the left side of his heart was underdeveloped and could not function properly.

Gannon's family was referred to the Fetal Concerns Center of Wisconsin. Doctors and nurses in the program helped Gannon's parents understand everything about their baby's heart condition and treatment and plan for their baby's care.

Gannon spent the first 7-1/2 weeks of his life at Children's Hospital, during which he had an abdominal surgery and the first of three surgeries required to fix his heart.

However, after the second heart surgery, Gannon wasn't doing well. Physicians decided that he needed a heart transplant. One week later – at age 10 months – he was placed on the transplant list. The family waited 96 days for a new heart.

Today, Gannon is doing very well.