The Heart is the Matter

A few days ago, while undergoing an ultrasound to check on Baby A’s umbilical cord flow, the ultrasound tech said, “I’ll be right back.”  She left the room and I knew this wasn’t normal.  She returned with the Perinatologist and showed her my ultrasound.  They were talking about our son’s heart.  I heard things like ‘I see dilation’ and ‘the flow should only be going one direction’ and ‘narrowing’ among other things.  The doctor calmly told me that she wanted to contact one of two Pediatric Cardiologists who works with our hospital because she isn’t an expert on the hearts of babies.

I immediately went into a panic.  What did any of this mean?  What is wrong with my baby?  We waited and waited and heard nothing.  The next morning I was taken back to the ultrasound room for an echo on the baby and told that they would be making a disc for the cardiologist to review.  We waited hours and heard nothing.  In the evening, I asked my nurse if she had heard anything.  She checked the order and told me that it likely wouldn’t be looked at until the following day.  Two days had passed before we were given the chance to see the cardiologist.  He told us the disc was empty and I’d need another ultrasound.  So back down I went to the ultrasound room and had another ultrasound performed.  Hours later, the doctor finally came in to talk to us.  It was a lot of big words and fancy mumbo jumbo that really went over our heads.

We will not know for sure until our children are born, but the ultrasound showed a narrowing of the aorta (coarctation of the aorta is the official name).  It isn’t affecting the baby much while in the womb so this issue by itself would not require us to be delivered early, but obviously Baby A has other issues as well.  Once the babies are born, they would do an echo on Baby A to get a better look to see if the issue needs intervention.  The doctor explained, after verifying who our insurance company is, that he would recommend us to go to CHOP or Hershey Medical after our baby is born, assuming he needs intervention.  It could mean heart surgery.  HEART SURGERY.  on a baby.  maybe even on a preemie.

He assured us that this is a fairly common problem, and the surgery is very low risk.  But heart surgery is still heart surgery, right?  It sounds pretty scary to me.  Basically, they’d go in and remove the narrow part of his aorta and either sew the two ends back up, or add a patch and sew the two ends to the patch.

This was right about the time I started wondering what we had done to deserve this.  Could I have caused this?  Is it karma for something I’ve said or done in the past?  Hearing things like this about your child, it shakes you.  It makes you wonder why in the hell some crack whores are able to get pregnant and birth healthy babies but the person who has wanted it for as long as they can remember, can’t.

Someone said to me after I discovered I needed IVF that things like this happen to people like me because I want it so badly; that if something like this happened to them, they’d give up and just go without kids.  At the time this response really got under my skin.  I’m realizing how true it really is though.  It’s unfair, but true.  Because I so desperately want a family, I will have to fight more obstacles.  They say nothing worth having ever comes easy, right?  So we will fight, Baby A will fight.  When he’s born, maybe there will be nothing wrong, maybe he won’t need surgery.  But if he does, he will fight through that too and we will fight along with him.

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10 thoughts on “The Heart is the Matter

  1. Praying for you and your babies, I was born with a heart defect called tetrology of fallot & had my first open heart surgery at 8months old, I’ve had a total of 4 throughout my life. I’ve let a pretty normal life, although I understand every situation is different and am hoping everything turns out good with you and your family 💜

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    1. Dee – thank you! Actually both babies hearts checked out just fine when they were delivered at 33 weeks. They checked them a week later and they looked good then too. Baby A (Porter) will be checked once more before being discharged just to be sure. We are very, very lucky!

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