I had every intention of doing an update after the gender reveal party. You know what they say about the best laid plans…
I’ll start by saying I feel great! Were it not for the incessant hunger and monthly appointments, oh and the belly, I might forget I was pregnant all together! At our last appointment, I’d gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks (holy moly), making up for only having gained less than a pound at each prior visit. That puts me right at 10 pounds at almost halfway through, which the doctor says is excellent.
The first of July, we went to the doctor for our regular monthly appointment, and were far enough along to determine the gender of baby Moss. Our sonographer turned the screen around, made us look away AND close our eyes, and in less than a minute, she knew what our sweet baby was. She printed a picture and wrote it in an envelope, which she then very carefully stapled closed around all sides so we couldn’t peek. That night we handed the envelope off to Houston’s sister Allie, who was planning our reveal party and would be the only one to know ahead of time. After two agonizing weeks, on July 16th, we got the answer we’d waited for. I loved the surprise of not knowing, and the experience of getting to find out alongside our families and closest friends. It was the most special and exciting day, and I won’t forget the feeling as long as I live. You can see pictures from our perfect party, and watch the video of the reveal on my Facebook page (you’ll need to roll down the timeline) here:
Fast forward to our next monthly appointment, at 19 weeks on July 30th. We were so excited for this appointment because we knew it’d be a long ultrasound and we’d get to see every part of little Landon. He weighed in at a whopping 12 ounces on Thursday, and was measuring 20 weeks and 2 days. When we met with Dr. Tinker afterward, he said there was something he needed to go over with us but to try not to freak out. RIGHT. Like that was a possibility now.
He then told us that there was a place on Landon’t heart that looked suspicious on the ultrasound. He explained that it could be a space, a possible VSD (which we now know means ventricular septal defect), or it could be nothing but a shadow. Either way he wanted us to see Dr. BK the following week. Dr. BK runs a high risk facility called MidSouth Maternal Fetal Medicine, and their equipment is supposed to be much higher quality. Having an ultrasound done there, Dr. Tinker said, would either confirm or deny the presence of the VSD. They scheduled us for Monday morning, and we held our breath all weekend. I prayed everyday for the outcome of the scan on Monday, and when Monday morning I was so nervous I could hardly eat.
We got to the office just before 10 am, and were called back right at our scheduled appointment time of 10:30. The next almost hour was spent in the sonography room, where our sweet Trinity took excellent care of us. Landon had already gained an ounce since Thursday! She did another full anatomy scan, as well as a fetal echocardiogram, and even printed us a couple of new pictures of Landon after we told her how poor ours from Thursday were. (We had Wanda again…*eyeroll*) Those pictures are here:
Once we finished with Trinity, she took us to the back of the office to a conference room to wait to speak with Dr. BK, who would come make sense of all the pictures and measurements we knew nothing about. We sat in that tiny stuffy waiting room for an HOUR. In that hour I went from anxious to concerned, worrying about what could possibly be taking so long and secretly knowing that if all was well someone would breeze in and tell us so, and we could exhale and be on our way. My heart was beating so hard when Dr. BK walked in, I swear you could have seen in through my shirt. He took a seat, and got right to business. The next ten minutes or so were a total blur of tears, questions, and disbelief.
Landon has a hole in his heart, a VSD, where the left ventricle and septum meet. Where there should be a solid barrier, there is only a partial septum that didn’t grow all the way down to close off the ventricle. Our sweet miracle baby, our perfect, flawless, angel baby, was not actually perfect. I was in shock. I was numb. So i listened as best I could through the ringing sadness in my ears. Dr. BK explained that of all congenital heart defects (which sounds so scary), this was the most commonly diagnosed. This was to be perceived as good news, because even in the worst case scenario, Landon would be cared for by gifted doctors who were well versed in his condition. About 80 % of VSD’s close on their own as the baby continues to grow, healing themselves completely by age 2. There is a possibility Landon’s could even close up before he is born. This is the best case scenario. If it doesn’t, Dr. BK says often times people born with VSDs go on to live perfectly normal lives without many effects on lifestyle. If the hole is left unrepaird it can lead to lung problems later in life, due to the opposite side of the heart and lungs working harder to pump the extra blood that is not taken up and out of the side where the hole is. Worst case scenario is this: he could have surgery as an infant (when he is resilient and will have no memory of it) to repair the VSD. The thought of my baby boy having surgery chills me to the bones. It makes me cry. It terrifies me.
So here’s what’s next. In another four weeks, we will return to Dr. BK’s office for another scan and fetal echo. If the hole is still there and hasn’t closed up, we will be referred to Dr. Joshi, a pediatric cardiologist at LeBonheur. He is tops in the area, which is comforting. Dr. Joshi would then monitor us through the rest of the pregnancy, to Landon’s birth, and after if necessary to determine a course of action and possibly schedule his surgery. If they hole has closed, then this nightmare is over, just a bump in the road.
When speaking with Dr. BK he was very kind and understanding. He comforted me, and was patient as I struggled to form questions from my tears. He told us of different options for additional testing, as in some cases children born with a VSD are also born with other genetic anomalies like Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 21, and others. We’d already completed an initial test for Down’s with clear results. The only other way to know what other risks Landon might be facing is through an amniocentesis, where they draw out amniotic fluid to test. This test comes with a significant chance of loss of pregnancy, about 1 in 800 we’re told, and we obviously selected not to have that done.
I wanted my son to be an all star athlete like his dad. To be able to run and play and all the things most kids take for granted, and parents too. It had never crossed my mind that he might not get to. I was upset because I didn’t want him to miss out on anything. Why were we being tested again? Hadn’t we proved our faith was strong enough? Was this because there were nights when I fell asleep before I finished my prayers? Or days that they were selfish, more about us and our needs than about others and theirs? Was this a new wilderness journey for us to navigate through? Or had we never in fact reached the end of the last? I know that as before, something good will come of this. It always does, just as He promised. I can tell you now though that it is FAR too soon for me to see it.