As many of you may already know we are expecting our first child in November. We couldn’t be happier to finally welcome a baby into our small fur family. I have had a great pregnancy so far. No morning sickness, aches/pains, or swelling. For the most part I feel completely normal like before I was pregnant. I am sure this will change once I start to get larger. I am currently 6 months and feel like the next three months are going to be long ones for us.
Our birthing plan has sadly changed. We were going with an all natural child birth at the Lisa Ross Birthing Center. This meant no drugs or doctors just a large birthing tub and midwives to assist. This has always been my plan until the big ultrasound day when all our plans went out the window. This was the gender day; the day we got to find out if the Baby Z was a boy or girl, I already knew it was a boy 😉 We were so happy to finally see our little guy on the screen wiggling about. We haven’t got to see him since he was only 8 weeks old. He had gotten much bigger in 2.5 months.
This is him at 8 weeks
Almost 19 weeks
Then the tech said looks like at little boy! It was a very sweet moment for us. Then once the scan was over she said she was going to send us to UT for a level 2 ultrasound. My world came crashing down in a moment. What? Why? She had noticed that one side of Baby Z’s heart was a bit smaller than the other and we should get it checked out at UT High Risk department.
I spent the next 24 hours on Google researching what could have caused this and what it could be. Then I came across Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. My heart sank as I read every detail about this syndrome. This was not good at all but all I could do is hope this was not my babies case. The next day was the visit at UT High Risk. That was the longest 24 hours of our lives. They start the level 2 ultrasound and of course my little guy is not in a good position to see his heart. He was flipped upside down and his spine was shadowing his heart. They got a good idea what was going on but it was hard to be sure. The doctor there did tell me it did not look like Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. This was a HUGE relief off me! They did say if it was anything that his aortic valve maybe narrowed. They set us up an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist in 2 weeks hoping he would be able to view his heart better and he would be a bit larger.
Flipped on his belly
2 weeks is a long time to sit a wait and worry. Finally, the day came and we meet Dr. Liske the cardiologist. He goes to do the ultrasound and of course my stubborn little man is flipped upside-down and not letting him get a good view. After an hour or at least it seemed like an hour to me, he came up with his diagnoses of Coarctation of the Aorta or COA. In COA, there’s a narrowing of the aorta, the main artery that delivers oxygen-rich (red) blood to the body. The narrowing in the aorta restricts the amount of oxygen-rich blood that can travel to the lower part of the body; the left ventricle must pump under higher than normal pressure in order to get oxygen-rich (red) blood through the narrowed opening and out to the body. The left ventricle becomes thick (hypertrophied). If the muscle becomes too thick and is no longer able to function efficiently and handle its workload, it will eventually fail (congestive heart failure). All this meant to me at the time was my newborn was going to have surgery the first week of his life. This is sadly the only fix for COA because a surgeon has to cut out the narrowed segment and sews the two healthy ends of the aorta back together, reconstructing the arch and establishing normal blood flow through the vessel.
The doctor went on to say that he may also have an interrupted Aortic Arch. Interrupted aortic arch (IAA) is the absence or discontinuation of a portion of the aortic arch. Due to the view he could not rule it out but he said it was also slight possibility. This would also need open heart surgery to be repaired. IAA is a very rare heart defect (3 in million) and If he did have this then it could be related to a chromosome issue called DiGeorge syndrome. He did not recommend me to get an amniocentesis done due to the risk (1 in 200 chance of something going wrong) and it was just a slight possibility of him having this issue. We have to go monthly for checkup and we are hoping that on our next visit he can get a better view of Baby Z’s heart!
We have once a month appointments with UT High Risk to check his growth, he is growing like a weed and my doctor there informed me that babies with chromosome issues do not grow well and did not think we needed the amniocentesis either. We have once a month centering appointments at Lisa Ross Birthing Center and the once a month visits with the pediatric cardiologist. Baby Z is getting lots of attention!
I am very thankful that this was caught early and it is fixable. It is very stressful knowing something is wrong with your baby but knowing he will lead a normal healthy life makes all that stress melt away. I will keep everyone updated on his progress.