Last friday we had an appointment with the perinatologist for a follow-up to our 16 week appointment where we'd found out that 1) we were having another girl, 2) the placenta was directly over my cervix and 3) the kiddo had a two vessel cord. At the time of the 16 week ultrasound I was still off of work and "taking it easy" from the earlier bleeding episodes/subchorionic hematoma that we'd had around 12 weeks.
I had prepared myself to hear that the placenta hadn't moved, and that I'd most likely need to have a c-section for delivery due to it's location. But I hadn't prepared myself to hear that anything else was going on with the pregnancy. Initially we found out that indeed the placenta had decided not to move, and that it was his impression that because of it's location, etc it most likely wouldn't move and I'd need to have a c-section. He then checked out our baby's heart and found out that there were some issues that he couldn't quite diagnose, but were concerning enough for us to go see a pediatric cardiologist early next week at Children's Hospital. I spent the weekend in fear of what the heart problems could mean, whether they were terminal or "compatible with life", and simply not knowing what to expect. I set myself up to hear that she had some heart problems, but didn't really believe that she would.
Monday morning we had our appointment with the pediatric cardiologist. The ultrasound/echo started off, and I was surprised to see how slow the heart looked, as our baby had been moving all night before the appointment. It wasn't until the cardiologist asked me if our baby's heart had always been at a normal rate when they checked it, that I realized it truly was in the 60's from the start of the scan. She wasn't moving, and all I could do was watch in disbelief and shock that it continued to not increase. A normal heartbeat being between 120 and 160's-ish. I started to cry and looked at the cardiologist and said, "if she was viable, you'd be doing something to get her out". She just looked at me and responded that she knew but I was only 20 weeks. She stopped the ultrasound, gave us a minute, and I feared what it all meant. She offered to finish the scan of the heart before sending me to the hospital, and when she restarted the echo our baby had flipped and her heartbeat was back in the 150's. The did find a defect in her heart that the cardiologist said was best described as "Double Outlet Right Ventricle", and in our baby means that there is a large enough septal defect between the ventricles that she could be fine in utero, but would need surgery to fix it after she's born. It could also mean other problems like a possible coarctation of the aorta and a chromosomal anomaly as well, but they wouldn't be sure until the baby developed more, and subsequently after she was born and we could take some blood to check (we declined an amneo, as it wouldn't help the baby out, and would just add more risk to an already risky pregnancy).
The cardiologist got me in to see the perinatologist later that day so he could rescan and see if there was anything that would have caused the deceleration in her heartbeat, and much to my surprise, for the first time this pregnancy, we had good news from an ultrasound. The baby didn't seem to have suffered any problems from the decel, and was even practicing breathing movements, which at 20 weeks was an uncommonly good sign.
For now our plans are to follow-up withe perinatologist in 2 weeks for another ultrasound, and then we see the pediatric cardiologist in four weeks for another echo. As for Ryan and I, we're taking it day-by-day, and relying on God's strength and peace to get us through all of this.
We're praying for a creative miracle in our daughter's heart, that the septal defect would be closed, and that blood would flow through the heart, arteries and veins the way it was designed to. If that doesn't happen, then we're asking for God to give her a "fixable heart", and guidance for those surgeons down the road. We're praying for protection of her umbilical cord, and it's two vessels. Strength for her body, soul and spirit. And protection from pre-term labor, cervical dilation or bleeding from the placenta previa. More simply we're also praying for rest and peace for us both. That God would uphold us through this time, and bind our family together stronger. And that he'd give Melodie protection, strength and peace in dealing with a difficult to understand time in her life. We covet your prayers, and know that God is a good God. That he's a righteous God, and that he will have His way. We know that He has formed this little one, knows her completely and he has a plan for her.