On November 16th Shawn, Sadie and I headed to the ultrasound clinic for our 18 week ultrasound. We talked about whether it would be a boy or a girl and threw around some name ideas. We agreed to have a medical student attend the ultrasound and things got underway. The technician began looking at the babies profile, limbs and brain. She continually described things to the student and would show her why our baby was healthy but what the signs of a problem would look like.
The baby was in a tough position so it took a bit of time for the technician to make a guess, she's guessing it's a girl! A little sister for Sadie to adore. Sadie began to get a little antsy so Shawn took her out to the waiting room to play. The technician began to look at the baby's heart and seemed to get quiet. She had me roll onto my side in an attempt to get a better picture. She continually looked at the heart, no longer speaking to the student or myself. I saw her type a question mark onto the screen and something about the left side of the heart. It was all in short form and I wasn't sure what it meant but was certain a question mark was a bad sign. I knew the ultrasound shouldn't be taking this long and began watching the clock on the screen. When we passed the hour mark I began to really worry and wanted Shawn to come back.
The technician made a joke about me needing to pee and handed me some kleenex to wipe off my belly. She told me she was going to have the doctor to come speak with us and to wait in the room. I ran to the bathroom and then quickly out to the waiting room. I asked Shawn to come back in with Sadie and told him I thought there was a problem. As we began to wait I told him she was looking at the heart and it was taking too long. He tried to reassure me and told me not to jump to conclusions. Sadie was going crazy, we hadn't expected such a long appointment and were running out of ways to entertain her.
After what seemed like a long time, a nurse came in and brought some cookies and a sticker for Sadie. She told us we'd be more comfortable in a room down the hall. As we walked down the hall to the 'Consult Room' I knew things were about to get worse. We sat down and I told Shawn again, something was wrong. We waited for a long time for the doctor to arrive.
The doctor finally arrived, with the medical student. She looked like she'd lost a bet and was about to enter her worst nightmare. The doctor sat down and talked to Sadie for a second and then told us he had bad news, it was very serious and going to be tough. He started out by drawing a heart and apologizing for his artistic abilities. He then scratched out the entire left side of the heart and proceeded to tell us that our baby was missing the left side of her heart. He told us that the heart would not grow or develop any further and this was not going to change. He then began with our options...
1. Terminate the pregnancy and make the most 'humane' decision for the baby's sake.
2. Carry the baby to full term, deliver here in Calgary and put the baby in palliative care until, "nature took its course". He told us it would happen quickly and the baby would not suffer.
3. Carry the baby to full term and deliver in Edmonton at the heart centre. He told us the baby would go for immediate open heart surgery and would continue to have another 2 surgeries before her 5th birthday. He warned us to think about the child we already had, the time we would need to spend away from home and the emotional strain on our family.
He apologized for ruining our lives, told us we had some tough decisions to make, and that a nurse would be following him in with our first appointment at the heart specialist for next week. Tears were already streaming down my face but I had been staying composed. As the doctor closed the door I began to weep and stood up to fall into Shawn's arms. We had nothing to say as we waited for the nurse to arrive.
The nurse apologized for our pain and handed us the details for our first appointment. We picked up our things and started the long walk out of the office. As we passed through the waiting room and I saw all the excited moms and dads waiting for the first sight of their babies, I felt jealous.
Here begins a long journey for our family. We have chosen option 3 without a thought and are awaiting our first appointment on November 23rd. We feel overwhelmed by the people that need to be updated and decided a blog was our best option. As we find out details or need to vent, we'll be here.
Right now we are not doing well and have had many hours of tears and struggles. We are thankful for our family and friends, their support has been amazing. We are fully relying on the Lord for the strength we need each day and believe that he is going to carry us through. We're not sure why he's chosen us and feel like we're not ready but are willing.
We are asking the world to pray. Will you join us on our knees as we ask the Lord to heal our baby's broken heart? We are asking for a whole heart and the faith to believe it can happen. We need the strength to trust in God's plan whether he heals her heart or has us go through the first surgery. We need wisdom as we research the best place for the surgery and the logistics to make it happen. Our God is all powerful and we choose to believe in His power.