We have some news about Baby Nugget. We actually have a lot of news about her. She's kind of a big deal. And a drama queen.
Are you ready for a science lesson?
On Friday we went in for the anatomy ultrasound with a perinatologist, just as a precaution, to check baby's stats and growth and make sure everything's where it needs to be and doing what it should be doing. Unfortunately, they spotted a little trouble in her heart, so we went back on Monday to see a pediatric cardiologist and to have another ultrasound, this time with an echocardiogram for a more detailed picture. It's a pretty cool thing.
What they found is that Baby Nugget has two heart defects. One is called a VSD, which is basically an opening between the ventricles [lower chambers of her heart] that allows blood to pass through freely, both ways. This one is the most common congenital heart defect, and can sometimes repair itself. The other options are applying a patch between the ventricles through a catheter, or if it's too severe they would repair it through open-heart surgery. [These are some pictures from the Mayo Clinic's slideshow.]
|This is a healthy heart.|
|This is a heart with VSD.|
The second defect is a little trickier to explain, and I can't seem to find any pictures. A healthy heart has two arteries: the pulmonary on the right side and the aorta on the left. Baby Nugget got a little confused while she was growing her heart and decided to just put them both on the same side. Silly girl. So while her blood is pumping just fine through her body as long as I'm doing all the breathing, once she takes her first breath that little mix-up will start to cause a lot of problems. To repair this defect, she will definitely need open-heart surgery, immediately after birth. They'll have to reroute the artery that's on the wrong side and possibly replace her aorta, because it's a little smaller than it should be. The doctors are all really nice when they talk about this and really emphasize the fact that knowing about it now makes in about eight-thousand times easier to prepare for her upcoming birth and surgery.
Fortunately for us, we live in a time when doctors can monitor these issues on a regular basis and perform fancy surgeries to fix what's wrong before it causes any permanent damage to her development [hopefully]. We're lucky that we moved to Las Vegas, where we have access to a children's hospital that specializes in heart care. Sunrise is the only children's hospital in the region that is equipped for pediatric open-heart surgery. As much as we might have thought moving in with my parents was a backwards move, we are in the best place possible for this adventure.
And that's exactly how we're looking at it. As an adventure. So far there's no reason to believe that this is a genetic condition or that it's being caused by anything else [we are waiting for results from a test for Down's Syndrome and that kind of condition, though]. We've met with a genetic counselor and she doesn't see any correlation between this and anything else we've told her about our family histories. Sometimes these things just happen, and sometimes they happen to us. But John and I both know that Heavenly Father wouldn't have sent us this special little nugget unless He knew we could handle her and love her just like He does. We can, and we will. And we'll have some really great reasons for why there's no money to buy her a car for her 16th birthday or pay for her college.
Aside from all of that, Baby Nugget is doing great! She's right on track growth-wise, has all the right numbers of fingers and toes, and works night and day on her dance skills. She is, however, a little camera-shy, and likes to keep her arms up in from of her face during ultrasounds, so all the pictures we have of her little face are too blurry. That, and I think all babies look like creatures from the black lagoon in ultrasound images. Or else I would post a couple pictures worth looking at, instead of just those hearts.
Ugh, ok. Fine. Here's one that actually kind of looks like a human. Just don't make fun of her distinctly "Woodbury" nose... she'll grow into it!
We are very optimistic about all of this. We really don't want all of our friends and family to feel like they need to walk on eggshells around us. If you have questions PLEASE ask us! It might not be something we've thought to ask the doctors yet, so really, any questions at all, send 'em our way! And if you know anything about these heart defects, or know anyone who's been through all this, tell us about it! We want to be open about everything. We want everyone to know that we're doing ok, and we're confident that in a few short months we'll have a beautiful baby girl to show-off to the world.