|| 27 weeks, 6 days ||
The main reason why I haven't written lately is that I've been a little emotionally and mentally preoccupied. We had our second appointment with Baby Beard's perinatal cardiologist, Dr. K, on Wednesday to see how his heart was doing (to learn more about our little man's congenital heart defects, read the previous update here). Because of the length of the day and all the stuff it ended up encompassing, I'm going to be doing a 3-part series to break it up into easier-to-read segments. So here goes part 1...
I realized that the appointment was nearing when I started withdrawing from activities I normally enjoy, i.e. writing on this blog. I just kept crying and praying, saying I didn't want anymore bad news. I was terrified that we would walk into the office, get our fetal echo cardiogram, and find out yet again that the "worst case scenario" was now "our scenario." It'd happened in the past few visits and if it happened at this one, we'd potentially be looking at Baby Beard needing a heart and lung transplant immediately after birth.
Josh and I were both exhausted by the time our early afternoon appointment rolled around - neither of us slept well the night before (though we share a full-size mattress so that's no surprise). Once in the exam room for the echo cardiogram, I closed my eyes and let the tech get to work at poking and prodding my belly. I didn't want to look at the screen, afraid that my now well-trained eyes would catch a glimpse of something bad.
Baby Beard pulled his usual stunts, and despite my attempt at telepathy and the audible commands from Dr. K, he refused to turn the way they wanted him to so they could get some better views. In fact, at one point (and true to form for the spawn of Josh and myself), he got so fed up with being pushed on that he simply flipped upside down and put his head against my spine and his butt against my belly button... directly under the transducer for the ultrasound. That's baby-speak for "kiss my ass," apparently.
Because of his stunt, they asked me to get up and walk around to see if he'd move, while they left the room to look over the images they'd been able to acquire. As soon as I sat up I start sobbing. I was overcome with anger and frustration, not at all towards our baby, but at the ridiculousness that I interpreted our situation to be. I mean, here I was, one towel tucked into my extremely low-rise waistband, another one tucked under my tunic-turned-midriff of a shirt, and a big gel-covered belly in the middle. And they wanted me to do what? Walk around was what they said, but I already know my baby and I know that no matter what I do, he will refuse to be put on display. So instead of just sitting back down, I kept pacing, pouting, crying and considering the benefits vs. consequences of punching a hole in the exam room wall. Holy hormone hell storm, Batman! The rest of the echo continued without much success, and so the final images were sent to Dr. K's computer and we had our little debriefing. (It should be noted that Josh was very helpful in keeping my towels tucked in, my clothes away from my gelly belly, and my fist out of the drywall.)
This is where I'd like to stop and sing praises to our loving, perfect, and healing Father. Not only has Baby Beard been growing and developing normally, but his heart is doing well, too. While we are still looking at him needing a 3-stage surgery to repair his little heart, the doctor was very pleased to see a few things. I'd like to list them individually, as each one, though seemingly small, had me giggling with delight over our little boy's strength and our Lord's miraculous works.
1. There is no fluid build-up around his heart! This is very good news, and Dr. K was very pleased to see this. Thank you, Father, for protecting this sweet baby.
2. His valves are not leaky! Also excellent news that Dr. K was glad to share with us. Oh praise Him! Halleluia!
3. His heart has a good "squeeze" and pulse rate! Again, fantastic news from Dr. K. Lord, thank you for this encouragement, and thank you for taking a heart that has been labeled "special" and turning that into "especially strong."
4. His pulmonary artery is connected and the branches are 3mm wide (that's normal)! This means that, although his pulmonary artery is not attached to the heart, it is still connected to the lungs and receiving blood flow via the patent ductus and aorta. It also means that the pulmonary branches, at 3mm, are growing at an appropriate rate and will be able to handle the requirements of the first 2 surgeries. This, my friends, is a good indication that he will not need a heart and lung transplant! I can't seem to find any appropriate words or ways to fully thank our Lord for this incredible gift of hope and health.
5. Dr. K believes that there is a chance that Baby Beard's mitral valve, which was previously diagnosed as missing (aka Mitral Valve Atresia), may actually have developed since our last visit! While this is still speculation, she does believe she saw it flickering. What a great example of God's miraculous powers for healing!
God is miraculous. He can create something that did not exist. He can heal something that was once hurt. He can fix what was broken. And he always answers prayers. Sometimes it's the answer you're hoping for, sometimes it's not, and sometimes it's even better than you could've imagined. I love that it's the little things, that become big things, that remind us how small and reliant we are on His grace.
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