Edita Tracey, 35, was eight-months pregnant and at her hair salon when she started experiencing severe chest pain.
"The pain, it wasn't sharp pain, it was just pressing," Edita told Fox 29 News in Philadelphia.
Initially Edita wasn't too concerned and just called her husband, Ken, but when the pain started to move to her chest she called an ambulance.
Once at the hospital staff began running tests to detect the problem and that's when they discovered Edita's aorta – the main blood vessel which pumps blood from her heart around her body – had started to tear apart.
Doctors moved swiftly and two surgical teams were formed - one to deliver the baby and the other to save the mother.
High-risk obstetrician Dr. John Horton spent nine-hours in the marathon surgery fighting to save the lives of both mother and child.
"When they put a mum under full-sleep anesthesia, that medication is now running towards the baby. So, I need to get to the baby as efficiently as possible," Dr. Horton told Fox 29.
Within seconds of the anaesthesia kicking-in baby Arabella was born – weighing just under three kilos – but the baby-joy was short-lived with doctors still facing the tough challenge to save Edita.
The aorta was torn substantially and husband Ken told reporters he was understandably angst-ridden despite the birth of his child.
"You think about the baby, this should be a joyous occasion. And now your mind goes right back, it goes right back to if she's going to make it. The whole night was up and down," he said.
But doctors were able to pull off a miracle and save Edita. She awoke post-surgery in the ICU remembering very little of what had happed and able to meet her baby-girl for the first time.
Doctors suspect that the life threatening complication was due to a spike in the Edita's blood pressure – a condition known as eclmpisia – but for now the mother is expected to make a full recovery.