Nate and I went to Rady Children’s Hospital today here in San Diego to get a special ultrasound on our little guy’s heart. Until today doctors have been telling us that there is something wrong with his heart, but they aren’t exactly sure what, but most likely we’re looking at heart surgery between birth and two years. Ug. So unsettling not knowing WHAT is going on. So today Nate and I were praying that we could get some answers and make a gameplan with the doctors for when our son enters the world in May.
Walking down the seemingly overly cheerful hallway of the children’s hospital toward the cardiology department I had the realization that if our guy has a heart problem, then maybe he’s going to not be able to oxygenate his brain properly and end up with brain damage as well. Glad I just thought of that a few short steps away from the appointment and not weeks earlier so that worry didn’t have time to stew.
About 30 minutes into the ultrasound I was thinking about how much I miss our South African OBGYN who delivered our daughter. And then…a nod from God; the pediatric cardio specialist walked into the room and said hello in his South African accent. Already a good sign.
This intelligent man then proceeded to use a diagram of a heart and draw in his own illustrations as he explained (HOORAY! A DOCTOR FINALLY EXPLAINED TO US!) what is going on inside our son’s heart. Not only was this doctor intelligent, he was also gifted with patience because he repeated the explanation multiple times to this concerned mom and remained with us until all questions and doubt were exhausted.
And now the diagnosis in Dr. Fripp’s own words:
“There is no problem.”
And now the prognosis in Dr. Fripp’s own words:
“Nothing needs to be done.”
For you scientifically minded people out there, our little guy has what is called a persistent left superior vena cava. Basically, everyone has a right superior vena cava and our baby also has one on the left side. Little overachiever! This is pumping some extra blood into the right atrium and making it difficult for the doctors to see and measure the mitral valve. We’re going to go back in four weeks just to triple check everything, but that is really just precautionary.
So here we are. The medical journey isn’t over yet, but it feels like closure is being ushered forward on our family’s medical uncertainty. Nate and I were prepared to just take whatever comes one day at a time, to commit ourselves for caring for one another, and to know that we are being cared for. (Something we learned in the Great Malaria Scare of ’06)
We have prayed through a path of doctors hearing news that something could seriously be wrong, to not knowing if our baby would survive being on its own after birth, to maybe a chronic heart problem, to potentially heart surgery at birth, to he simply has an extra vein and nothing is wrong. Wow, what a progression!
Thank you for your prayers. We will sleep very peacefully tonight.