Monday, August 21, 2006

Ultrasound news

We had our ultrasound on Friday morning, August 18th and found out we're having a baby boy! We're thinking Lucas Scott for his name, but we'd call him Luke.

In addition to finding out the sex, we also found out that something didn't look quite right with baby's heart. The ultrasound technician couldn't expound on her findings, but felt like we needed to see a specialist to follow-up. Thankfully, a pediatric cardiologist at Northwest Children's Heart Center had an afternoon cancellation, so we were able to get an appointment with him that same day. Numb, Roger and I sat in our car, trying to figure out what just happened. We knew we had to make phone calls, since our family was anxious to hear about our appointment, but how do you break this news when we ourselves didn't even know what to think or feel. We called my mom first, but all I got out was that it was a boy and then I broke. Rog took over the phone call and let her know that they were sending us to a heart specialist to look at baby's heart. Over the next two hours while we waited for our appointment time, we grasped onto the hope that it was the baby's activity and position that caused the tech to have concerns.

We prayed together as the time crept along. What were we looking at? Since the technician could tell us so little, we didn't know if a heart concern meant nothing or if it meant the baby wouldn't survive. We prayed some more. Finally, we checked into NWCHC, met my mom there, and were ushered back to the fetal echo room. I cried and cried, scared of this whole unknown process, wanting to be at lunch with my husband, then on my way back to work to share the good news of our baby's health.

Our technician, Mickey, spent about an hour doing the fetal echo, and was as calming of presence as you could hope for. She finished up and then Dr. Stefanelli came in to take a few more pictures. We were sent to an exam room to wait for the diagnosis. We still clung to the hope that everything was okay, that the baby's heart was perfect.

Dr. Stefanelli came into the room and quickly shared with us that our baby has a heart defect called atrioventricular septal defect. Basically, a hole in both the atrium and ventricle, so blood and oxygen don't flow in the correct way. He painted a very optimistic picture of this defect and the fix. It would require an open-heart surgery when baby is 4-6 months, but only one, not a series. The surgery will patch the holes and our cardiologist was encouraging that most children after this type of surgery are able to compete in sports and live active lives. There are also other complications that go along with AVSD, but our baby's heart didn't appear to have those. There is a high success rate with this surgery, so we have took comfort in that. We thought to ourselves, "OK, we can do this. We're going to be fine."

The second piece of news was much harder to swallow. We were told about 40-50% of these defects are also seen in Down Syndrome babies.

I had declined the 16-week blood screen, so we headed back to our doctor's office to get my blood drawn. This was all happening on a Friday and thus had to endure the weekend until we received the results. The wait was agony. I just kept telling myself "you have to eat, you have to nourish your baby." But I felt sick and scared and wanted this not to be happening. Our family surrounded us and we somehow made it to Monday, when we received the great news that our screen was negative for down syndrome, spina bifada, and trisomy 18. Even so shortly after such a horrific weekend, I see how God is using those two days to strengthen our marriage and family.

The plan is to meet with a maternal/fetal specialist, to have a level II ultrasound performed, and to follow-up with another echocardiogram in one month with Dr. Stefanelli.

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