I am coming to a place of realizing that I may not have long to 'cling' to my Hope after she's born. In response I am trying to work at holding onto the hope that I have in Jesus Christ to comfort me through that difficult time and find strength in Him. Shawn and I watched a tv show that features a family giving birth to an HLHS baby in the States. I'm including the link if you're interested in watching, it gives you a better idea of what Hope's delivery and first few hours could look like.
Hopefully that works for you all.
Today I met with my obstetrician and then had an echo done on Hope's heart. It was a long day with a lot of doctors! The OB appointment was pretty fast. I had Sadie with me and she was entertaining everyone in the office. They listened to the baby, charted my weight and the growth of my belly. It was nothing too exciting or new. In the afternoon I went for the echo and left Sadie with a babysitter - it's a good thing too, the appointment was 3 hours long and involved a lot of waiting. I was greeted with another $16 parking bill at the end of the visit, if it wasn't -30 I would I have considered walking a bit to save some money. In this weather, I would have paid double to be close to the doors!!
The echo is about an hour in length and involves checking the basics of the baby; head size, stomach, length of legs and weight. Hope is measuring perfectly for 28 weeks and continues to grow on track, she is currently weighing in at 2 pounds 7 ounces and they seemed pleased with this. After measuring different parts of the baby they began to focus on the heart completely. They usually spend over 40 minutes measuring every piece, listening and looking at blood flow and making notes of any changes. This process has become very painful for me with my SPD. During much of the echo I was positioned on my side, which was extremely uncomfortable, but allowed them to get the best pictures of Hope. I am not looking forward to the next one (3 weeks from now in Edmonton) and would love your prayer in this matter.
After the echo was completed, I began the waiting game. It takes quite a while for the cardiologist to examine the results, consult with the cardiologists in Edmonton and come back to speak with me. During this time I read my book, wrote in my journal and worked on my homework for a Beth Moore Bible study I'm in. It was a great time for me and I didn't mind the wait, this time I had remembered to pack snacks too!
The neonatologist saw me first and confirmed that Hope's growth is excellent and they couldn't be happier with it. Praise the Lord for that! After being seen in Edmonton, we'll begin having ultrasounds every 2 weeks to make sure this growth continues throughout my last trimester.
The cardiologist came in at the end and said everything was still looking good and they felt positive about what they were seeing with Hope. She said that Hope is a very 'general' candidate for surgery, meaning that she's pretty textbook in her HLHS. She commented that the right atrium had good function and the right ventricle looked normal and thin, which is apparently a good thing. She said the lung arteries were growing well and that would help in her breathing after birth.
She informed me that the reason it had taken so long was that they were looking at the pulmonary veins that were going into the atrial defect (hole), to be sure that the blood flow was active enough. She said that there was the appearance that it might narrow but that it appeared the blood was still flowing currently. Going forward, this is something they will keep a close eye on but will not get a good picture of it's exact condition until Hope is born. Seeing the heart through my stomach and Hope's is not the best picture. They will do an echo on Hope as soon as she is stable after birth and get the best picture of her heart at that time.
So, we would like everyone to pray that this hole would NOT narrow and that the blood would continue to flow actively through this area. After Hope is born, the medication they put her on will force the blood to continue flowing as it has in utero and not switch to a flow that includes the left side of the heart. If there is a narrowing, it will cause this to be problematic and could result in more drastic measures needing to be taken. Let's pray that the Lord would keep the hole open and that no other intervention will be required after birth.
In the meantime, we will continuing trusting the Lord with Hope's heart and pray that we get more positive news after the echo in Edmonton.