Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Second Appointments in Dallas

Happy seventh anniversary to us!  When we scheduled the appointments for today I was really upset--what a way to celebrate, right?  It was actually a really great day!  Stephen and I spent the day together in Dallas.  We ate lunch with our friend, Lauren, and her little boy, Holt, who is about a month younger than Harper.  They lived across the street from us until about a year ago, and then moved to Forney for her husband's job.  Holt had a heart condition the doctors found when Lauren was pregnant, and talking to her about their situation has been such an encouragement to me!  They used the same surgeon that we will be using, and Lauren said they really liked him.

Our first appointment was with Dr. Rinehart.  The sonographer started by telling us the baby's gender.  I begged and pleaded to Stephen to wait to find out the baby's gender until birth--I wanted the surprise with the girls.  Anyway, he consented to wait with this baby, but once we found out about the heart defects, I started to change my mind.  After that, the sonographer checked our baby's heart and the rest of the anatomy.  Dr. Rinehart came in later and told us everything looks good still, nothing has changed as far as the rest of the anatomy, and that the defects aren't affecting the baby right now.  He actually said, "Baby doesn't care about any of this right now."  It feels like a completely normal pregnancy really.

Next we met Dr. Mendeloff for the first time.  He discussed the possibility of surgery immediately (within the first few days of life) after birth.  This would be first in a series of three--the other two are for sure going to happen.  I explained them in the first blog post here.  As long as the ventricular septal defect (VSD) grows proportional to the size it is now (it will grow slightly larger since the whole baby is growing), and if the baby is eating well, breathing well, and oxygen saturation is good, the baby will not require surgery immediately after birth.  If the VSD gets smaller, Dr. Mendeloff will place a BT shunt to reroute blood flow so an adequate amount of blood flows.  If the VSD gets larger, he will have to place a restrictor somewhere (we didn't talk about this in detail) so an adequate amount of blood flows.  If the VSD completely closes before birth, the patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) will need to remain open to allow blood to flow.  The PDA normally closes on its own within a day after birth.  Baby will be given medicine via I.V. to keep the PDA open.  We should know before birth or shortly after if the baby will need to keep the PDA open and/or if there needs to be surgery immediately (within the first few days).  Dr. Mendeloff assured us that none of the surgeries will be a "rush off to the O.R." type situation.  Baby will be closely monitored before and after birth so we will have a plan of action regarding the potential first surgery. 

If there is no surgery, we will be in the hospital a week-10 days after the baby is born.  If there is surgery, we will be in the hospital around three weeks.  We will get a chance to tour the NICU at Medical City prior to delivery--Dr. Mendeloff said it can help parents prepare for their own child's surgery to see other babies in various stages of recovery.  The baby's heart is about 3 centimeters long right now, roughly the size of a nickel.  The heart will be about the size of a strawberry at birth, about the size of the circle you can make with your thumb and pointer finger.  I took lots of notes during Dr. Mendeloff's appointment.  Stephen wrote two scripture references on the page: Jeremiah 29:11 and Psalm 33:11.  We know the Lord has a perfect plan for this baby, and He knows exactly when everything will happen in this baby's life.  

After Dr. Mendeloff's appointment, we went to Dr. Kao's office.  Mendeloff and Kao are both located at Medical City, two floors apart.  The sonographer took more pictures of the baby's heart, but not nearly as many as last time.  This time, however, the baby kept its knees pulled up to its chest, so I had to flip from side to side so the baby would move and the sonographer could get the right pictures.  Our appointment with Dr. Kao didn't last long because everything about the baby's heart has stayed relatively the same!  This is wonderful news, and as long as the VSD stays proportionally the same size, baby won't need surgery immediately.  

Stephen and I had a romantic anniversary date at Alamo Drafthouse.  If you haven't been to one, you should!  We saw The Fault in our Stars and ate delicious pretzels, pizza, and chocolate shakes.  I read the book and only cried once, but I cried through most of the movie...I'm so thankful for seven married years with this guy and to be going through this pregnancy in particular with him!

We go back to Dallas in four more weeks!       

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