Well...here goes my first effort in the world of "blogging." You'll have to forgive me if I ramble (I have a way of doing that!) This one might be a little long as I have LOTS to cover!
As many of you already know, Matt and I found out on January 18th that we are going to be welcoming a little baby girl into our lives this summer. WOOHOO (I think that might be what I secretly wanted)!!! Though Matt already had plans to teach his little boy how to kick a football (the next Alex Henery, perhaps?), the thought of having a "daddy's little girl" has him very excited! I'm 23 weeks today, and though the piles of snow outside our house may make it feel like forever away, I'm sure that June will be here before we know it.
Now comes the emotional rollercoaster.....about 30 minutes after the sonographer told us we were having a little girl, the doctor came in to take a quick look at the ultrasound. When she got to the heart, she said that there are 3 views that she like to check routinely. Because I am carrying a little wiggle worm in my belly, she was having trouble getting the 3rd view. However, from what she COULD see, she thought that one side of the heart looked a little smaller than the other. She left the room and re-emerged about 5 min. later letting us know that we had an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist set up for the following afternoon. Wow, that was fast. Needless to say, it was a long rest of the day not knowing what was going on.
The very next day we went to see the cardiologist, Dr. Sami, who preformed a fetal echocardiogram (its 100% amazing the detail they can pick up from a teeny tiny heart at only 20 weeks) I didn't even really watch the ultrasound monitor...just Dr. Sami's face...and I could tell that something wasn't right. After what felt like forever, he sat me up and told us that our little girl has hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS). All I can say is that its a good thing we have both taken anatomy classes, because everything after that point is kind of a haze. HRHS is a congenital heart defect in which the right ventricle of the heart fails to grow and develop appropriately. Because of this, the heart cannot adequately pump blood into the lungs to be oxygenated. No one really know WHY this happens...but it happened.
So, what does this all mean???? Good question! We are still trying to wrap our heads around it as well. Right now all of her oxygen comes from me, so there aren't any major issues during pregnancy. Most babes, however, will need to have surgery within the first few days to place a shunt in the heart. This is just a temporary solution until the baby has a chance to grow and can tolerate a bigger procedure. 2 more surgeries are likely to follow, with the goal of totally bypassing the right side of the heart. You heard me right...she'll run on 1/2 of a heart. I had NO CLUE that this was even possible. We haven't had a chance to meet with a surgeon yet, so we are keeping a list of questions. We'll know more later.
Needless to say, we (all 3 of us) have a long road ahead of us. I've read a lot of blogs from other "heart mommies and daddies" and admire the strength that they all seem to have. I can only hope and pray that when its our time we will be the same. Until then, I'm sure that we will have good days and bad days, maybe even terrible days, but we know that we have to keep our heads held high. Our little girl continues to thrive and grow each day, and I have 17 weeks to be the best home for her that I can be! Everytime that she decideds to make herself known through a dance party in my belly, I'm reminded of just how lucky we are.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH for all of the thoughts and prayers you have sent our way over the past few weeks. I never underestimate the power of prayer and we've had lots of it. From a first grade class in Omaha to family friends visiting Burma. Though we have always known that we have an incredible support system of family and friends, you kind of take advantage of it until something like this comes along. We are forever grateful for each and every one of you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU and keep those prayers coming!