Yesterday, I had a "routine" ultrasound with my high risk doctor (who I see because of the MTHFR blood clotting issue). I was expecting a quick ultrasound, like usual, and hoping for him to declare that the baby was ready to be born! I mean, he's an ounce shy of nine pounds, after all.
But then he looked at my baby's heart for a really long time. And then he went back and looked at previous pictures of my baby's heart. And then he started to use really big words, but all I heard was dilated, fluid, problem, cardiologist. He hoped he was wrong and that Baby Sam was just lying in a funny position and we'd get a better look with an echo cardiogram.
We are so thankful that we got in today, the very next day, for the echo cardiogram that takes a week or more to schedule.
After an hour and a half of a cardiologist looking at every tiny part of Sam's heart, she left the room with her poker face intact, to run her calculations.
Surely this is a false alarm. Surely Dr. Fancy was wrong. Surely Baby Sam is the picture of health.
And then the cardiologist returned and said, "We are certain of our diagnosis. We got good pictures. Let's look at this diagram of a normal heart."
Room spinning. Walls caving in. Tears blurring my eyes. A normal heart? What does that mean Baby Sam has??
From our understanding, there are potentially three little problems. The first is a definite -- it's called Coarctation of the Aorta. What this means is that there is a little kink in Sam's aorta. This affects the blood flow out to his body after birth. Right now in utero, there is a little (normal) valve that God put there that is open that is helping to supply blood around the kink. After he's born, the valve normally closes, around a week after being born. The doctors will put him on prolactin when he's born to keep the valve open while he waits for surgery. If we didn't find out about this now, he'd be born and probably be fine for a few days, until the valve starts to close (like it should) but he'd be left with the kink in his aorta and not enough blood flow. This can be fixed with surgery.
The second problem, not totally confirmed until he's here and can have his own tests not through mama, is Aortic Arch Hypoplasia. This is a narrowing of the aorta, before the kink, that may have to be fixed with a more complicated surgery.
And the third problem is possible Aortic Valve Stenosis, again we aren't sure til he's here. This means that the main valve from his left ventricle out to his aorta is not closing 100%. This can be repaired using a catheter, through his femoral artery to fix this.
Because of these issues, he has visible symptoms in his heart due to extra "down stream" pressure, causing his right ventricle and atrium to be swollen. Which is what alerted us to these problem(s) in the first place. These symptoms should clear up once the issues are fixed.
As soon as Sam is born, they will do another echo cardiogram on him, which will be much better since he won't be in utero anymore. We'll know so much more then.
I can't even begin to describe the feelings of today. And yesterday. But to sit in a room with a cardiologist, who just spent HOURS pouring over every detail of my child and have her say things like -- NICU, intubated, surgery, and he "should" be okay. Oh my.
She said I need to stop taking my baby aspirin NOW (as compared to Sunday, which was the plan all along) because it can cause more constriction to his already limited aorta. She says this is not happening yet, but she wants to be safe. She says he is in no distress and is completely unaware that he has anything wrong in his little heart.
Right now, he's kicking just like normal. We love him so much. And it all feels like a bad dream. Like we'll wake up in the morning, shout "13 days til Baby Sam!" and go to Target for more baby PJs. I believe that God can heal our baby. I believe that he is in good hands. And I am so thankful to know now.
If we didn't find this out, not only would he find himself in distress once he stopped getting enough blood flow, but then they'd have to rush him to the children's hospital while I lay helplessly in my hospital bed, post c-section, miles away. But now, we can deliver and he can be wheeled to the attached children's hospital for his care, while I recover a few hallways away.
It doesn't even matter anymore. All I want is Sam. But I have bags packed. Cute onesies and embroidered hats. Soothing music and big sister presents. I had been dreaming of the moment when they'd hand him to me for the first time. And Emma would come in a kiss her baby brother. And we'd all just hang out all day long in our hospital room loving on each other. Now all I want is Sam.
I know God is in control. I've also learned by now that God's plans aren't always our plans. My desperate plea to my God in heaven is, "Please let him live." My biggest fear has always been something happening to a full-term baby -- when if the baby had just been born, he'd have been okay. And now my full-term (on Monday) baby has very real heart defect(s). And I'm so scared. Right now I am more scared about the next two weeks. I know he needs to be a strong as possible, but I just want him to be born so he can start getting the help he needs.
Please pray for our little family. Pass this blog link along to anyone and everyone. God hears our prayers. Pray that God will keep our baby Sam safe and that he'll be born healthy and strong so he can face the weeks that are ahead of him.
1 John 5:14-15
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from him."