Today I went in for my final heart “check-up” at Stanford. If you remember, we had a check up back in July and then we’d had another one in October. Everything was normal at both, but the doctors wanted to see my heart one more time approximately one month before delivery. It is rare they get to monitor a genetic carrier like this, and even more rare because they know my specific genetic markers. Because everything had been normal, I went by myself. Everything takes HOURS at Stanford, so we didn’t really see a reason for mom or Oliver to have to take the time off work to go with. I got up nice and early, grabbed some Starbucks and went for my echo then the appointment with the doctor.
What happened next caught us all off guard…
Apparently I have developed a mild form of the heart condition since our check-up in October. The echo detected stiffening of my ventricles in my heart. This officially places me in the ‘high risk labor and delivery’ category. This was quite difficult information to receive while sitting alone in a room with a doctor, a fellow and a nurse. Here’s what we understand about all of the information I received that day:
- Although I have developed it, they don’t know if it will reverse itself after pregnancy. So many of the symptoms are similar to those found in pregnancy
- There is NO concern for baby – he will be just fine! It’s only me who broke…
- The only concern for continuing this pregnancy is that, if its hormones impacting my heart, the heart condition will continue to increase in severity.
- There is a slight concern about delivery – pain often makes your heart beat harder (which is a strain on my heart due to the stiffening ventricles) and contractions/pushing stresses the heart through exertion
- The big concern is after the umbilical cord is cut and the 48 hours after delivery. As my body begin reabsorbing the fluid from running 2 circulatory systems the past 35 weeks, it begins flushing a lot of this fluid through my heart. But, because my heart has ‘stiffened’, it cannot accommodate all of this extra fluid, which can cause a LOT of problems VERY quickly.
So what this all means …
- We now have to meet with a select a “high risk OB’ who will manage the remainder of our pregnancy, as well as labor and delivery
- I have to wear a heart monitor 24/7. They glued it (literally… I’m not joking) to my chest today before I left the hospital
- We have to delivery at a hospital equipped with a cardiologist AND a cardiology anesthesiologist … we know Stanford has that, but we have to find out if our hospital, Good Samaritan, does
- Our “team” has to decide what our new options are for labor and delivery. It might not look like we wanted it to any longer
- I’ll have to be checked out regularly after delivery to see if my heart reverses itself, or if I officially will be diagnosed with the heart condition and begin working through all the life changes that entails (medication, activity restrictions, etc)
We don’t have a lot of answers right now. More like a million questions. We aren’t freaking out, just waiting to find out what to expect. Our biggest question right now is really “if we go into labor over Christmas … what do we do and where do we go?” Our OB (who has been with us through infertility and this whole pregnancy) is on vacation, so we are walking this alone for right now.
Please pray with us as we seek answers and God’s will in bringing this baby forth. As you know, he is a miracle already and his entire existence is God’s working. Straight through labor and delivery too. If this means we have to use methods we were against before, whatever it takes!
As Oliver says, “I just need you and him to come home with me, and for YOU to be the one teaching me how to change diapers…”
May His will be done …
<3 Tara and Oliver